Theatre Review: ‘Angel Street’ at Olney Theatre Center

Julie-Ann Elliott and Alan Wade. Photo by Stan Barouh.

Julie-Ann Elliott and Alan Wade. Photo by Stan Barouh.

Olney Theatre Center’s Angel Street delivers an evening of suspense, intrigue, and revenge. The Victorian thriller set in 1880, written by Patrick Hamilton and directed by John Going, keeps you in your seat and eyes glued to the stage to see what will happen next to the Manningham’s. From a stunningly rich set to the wonderful performances from the cast Angel Street (also known by its movie title “Gaslight”) is a must see for any fan of mysteries and thrillers.

Julie-Ann Elliott and Alan Wade. Photo by Stan Barouh.

Julie-Ann Elliott and Alan Wade. Photo by Stan Barouh.

The play takes place in a house on Angel Street and revolves around the couple living there, Mr. and Mrs. Manningham. In the opening scene Mrs. Manningham, played by Julie-Ann Elliott, is a woman unraveled, convinced by her husband that she is going mad like her late mother. Ms Elliott’s performance is masterful, Manningham can barely sit still as she attempts to contain her confusion and fear, while failing to convince her husband that she is innocent in the most recent bewildering events in their house. Mr. Manningham, played by Jeffries Thaiss, is a frustratingly perfect Victorian husband, condescending, controlling, and cold. Thaiss moves from charming to villianous in an instant while Mrs. Manningham grovels for her husband’s approval.

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Alan Wade does a convincing Inspector Rough, a man haunted by a murder that took place in the same house fifteen years earlier. He wins Mrs. Manningham’s trust and attempts to help her by revealing that her husband is not the man she thinks he is. Wade’s strength in the play is his comic relief from the twisted mind of Mrs. Manningham. He plays the jolly, whiskey slugging, devious cop quite well.

…a must see for any fan of mysteries and thrillers.

Nancy, the servant girl, played by Dylan Silver, is a bit overdone. Her accent and overly dramatic showing of affection for Mr. Manningham did not fit with the quiet horror of Ms. Elliott’s Mrs. Manningham.

Julie-Ann Elliott and Alan Wade. Photo by Stan Barouh.

Julie-Ann Elliott and Jeffries Thaiss. Photo by Stan Barouh.

The opening scene took my breath away with the meticulous details of the Victorian set and costume design, done by James Wolk and Liz Covey. From the Gentlemen’s suits and hats to the oil lamp stains on the wallpaper nothing was overlooked. One of the details I found especially pleasurable was the lighting which plays a large part in the suspense. Done by Dennis Parichy, the gas lamps on stage correspond with the stage lights perfectly and improve the plot’s realism.

The most satisfying point in the play is how the conflict is resolved at the end.

Running Time: 2 hours with 15 minute intermission.

Angel Street plays at Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, MD 20832, through July 14.  For more information and tickets click here.

About Helen Gushue

Helen Gushue is a DC native, and graduate of Guilford college in North Carolina where she earned her degree in Music performance. She's an arts lover who has worked as an educator in various fields and believes whole-heartedly in arts education. She is pursuing a career in or surrounding world music and education.