By Patrick Hamilton. Adapted by David Jacklin.
The season opens with Patrick Hamilton’s famous nail-biting Victorian thriller Gaslight. Hailed by the critic of The New Yorker Magazine as “a masterpiece of suspense,” Gaslight is set in fog-bound London in 1880 in the home of Jack Manningham and his wife Bella. It is late afternoon, a time which Hamilton notes as being the time “before the feeble dawn of gaslight and tea.” As the play opens Bella is clearly on edge, and the stern reproaches from her overbearing husband make matters worse. What most perturbs Bella is Jack’s unexplained absences from the house: he will not tell her where he is going, and this increases her anxiety. As the drama unfolds, it becomes clear that Jack is intent on convincing Bella that she is going insane. Why is he doing this, and will he succeed?
By A. A. Milne.
Leonard and Anne are eloping along the lovers’ road to Dover, intending to embark for Calais and go to Paris, Leonard having abandoned his wife Eustasia in order to do so. Unfortunately, their car breaks down and they seek refuge in ‘a sort of hotel’ nearby, which turns out to be a residence, owned by a rich and somewhat eccentric gentleman, Mr. Latimer. It seems that Latimer intends to keep the couple prisoner for a week so that they can see if a marriage between them will work. The next day, Anne begins to notice things about Leonard that she ignored before. Unknown to them, however, another couple in the house are about to leave after seven days — Leonard’s wife Eustasia and her runaway lover Nicholas… When this comedy was last seen in Toronto in 2007, Mark Andrew Lawrence described it as “…a little gem of a play… this charming relic from Broadway’s golden age.”
Adapted by James Yaffe from the novel by Friedrich Dürrenmatt.
Three retired lawyers in a remote village in the Swiss Alps amuse themselves by going through the legal ceremony of prosecuting strangers who drop in. One evening, a stranded American travelling salesman is their guest, having run his car into a snowdrift during a fierce blizzard. Although the men’s ‘deadly game’ seems foolish to him, he agrees to participate to humour his hosts. Since he has never been guilty of a crime in his life, he is unable to suggest anything they can try him for. After some amiable social conversation, the retired prosecutor discovers a plausible case and accuses the salesman of having murdered his boss. At first, this appears to be a wild improvisation, but the playwright gradually makes something real out of phantoms… “… genuinely engrossing … the tension builds with the slow, steady, intricate movement of a courtroom drama” wrote Leah D. Frank of The New York Times. Be sure not to miss this cat and mouse thriller!
By Ken Ludwig.
In this uproarious comedy two English Shakespearean actors, Jack and Leo, find themselves so down on their luck that they are performing “Scenes from Shakespeare” on the Moose Lodge circuit in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. When they hear that a local old lady plans to leave her fortune to her two long lost English nephews, Jack and Leo resolve to pass themselves off as her relatives and get the cash. Complications ensue when they find out that the relatives aren’t nephews but nieces! Romantic entanglements abound, especially when Leo falls head-over-petticoat in love with the old lady’s vivacious niece, Meg, who’s engaged to the local minister, who is anything but vivacious! Meg knows that there’s a wide world out there, but it’s not until she meets “Maxine and Stephanie” that she finally gets a taste of it. “Leading Ladies is consistently funny − indeed, increasingly hilarious as it progresses.” ~ Houston Chronicle.
An Irish Comedy by George Bernard Shaw.
The comedy You Never Can Tell was George Bernard Shaw’s 1896 answer to The Importance of Being Earnest. As the play opens, Mrs. Clandon and her children, Dolly, Phillip and Gloria, have just returned to England 18 years after their departure. The children have no idea who their father is and, through a comedy of errors, end up inviting him to a family lunch. At the same time, a dentist named Valentine has fallen in love with the eldest daughter, Gloria, who considers herself a modern woman and claims to have no interest in love or marriage. Will Valentine succeed in changing her mind? Throughout the play, the wise and friendly waiter, Walter (most commonly referred to by the characters as “William,” because Dolly thinks he resembles Shakespeare), dispenses his wisdom with the titular phrase “You Never Can Tell.” The New York Dramatic Mirror thought the comedy “So full of whimsical turns . . . It is brainy champagne.” We hope you will think so too!