Of marital manipulation and murder


Jack Manningham (Andrew Govey) torments his wife Bella (former Koorliny Arts Centre performer Emma Shaw) in the Victorian thriller Gaslight.
Jack Manningham (Andrew Govey) torments his wife Bella (former Koorliny Arts Centre performer Emma Shaw) in the Victorian thriller Gaslight.

Matched with the timeless theme of marital manipulation, it is all part of a popular Victorian thriller on show at Limelight Theatre.

Written by Patrick Hamilton and directed by Karen Tropiano, Gaslight is set in 1880 and focuses on the Manninghams – the suave Jack slowly psychologically torturing his wife Bella (played by Shaw) into insanity.

When she is visited by Inspector Rough, he convinces her that Jack is a maniacal criminal wanted for a murder committed 15 years ago.

Bella then gains confidence in herself, as she works with the inspector to build up evidence against her husband.

Gaslight is part-Victorian thriller, part-murder-mystery and part-drama,” Shaw said.

“Bella has a family history of mental illness and is now worried that she, like her mother, is going insane – or is she?

“She’s a complicated character because she’s smart and capable but faced with constant doubt and challenges.

“I want people to be able to relate to her because we’ve all faced times of doubt and uncertainty and haven’t known who to trust.”

Acting since 2004, Shaw has appeared in numerous shows with the Koorliny Arts Centre, Playlovers, Stirling and Limelight Theatres, Knuts and other independent companies around Perth, including performances at Fringe World.

“I saw Gaslight many years ago and I still remember it as a great play so I’m very pleased to be involved in this production,” Shaw said.