Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Patrick Hamilton's Gaslight--formerly called Angel Street, and the basis for George Cukor's 1944 film of the same name--is one of those plays where the style and tone of the piece is so integral that any diversion from it causes the entire piece to fall flat. Sadly, it is clear from the opening moments of the Irish Repertory's current revival that this mounting, while handsome to look at, is going to be a long affair. Most of the performances are far too modern for the decidedly period story, and also much too manic for the essential elements of suspense to seem genuine. Laura Odeh has the unenviable task of essaying a role made famous on screen by Ingrid Bergman, and often suffers the most; in an attempt to project her character's descent into insanity at the hands of her husband (David Staller, also unconvincing), she overexaggerates every gesture she makes, sacrificing any semblance of actual human emotion. Irish Rep stalwart Brian Murray fares the best as a hardboiled detective with a score to settle, but it's not quite enough. By the time that the show starts to really cook--mostly in the last fifteen minutes--you're already mentally checked out.