“Gaslight” At QPAC Playhouse: A Must-See Thriller With An Exceptional Cast

February 27, 2024

Photo By Queensland Theatre

In the heart of Queensland’s cultural hub, the QPAC Playhouse, audiences were treated to a mesmerising performance of the classic thriller “Gaslight.” From the moment the curtains rose, it was evident that this production would be nothing short of extraordinary.

At the forefront of the play was the exceptional four-person cast, whose performances left spectators in awe. Leading the ensemble was the talented Geraldine Hakewill, who portrayed the protagonist Bella Manningham with a haunting authenticity that drew viewers into her world of manipulation and intrigue. Hakewill’s ability to convey Bella’s inner turmoil and vulnerability was truly captivating, eliciting empathy and admiration from the audience. Opposite Hakewill was the captivating Toby Schmitz, whose portrayal of the enigmatic Jack Manningham kept audiences on the edge of their seats with each calculated move and whispered threat. Schmitz’s commanding presence and subtle nuances brought a sense of menace and unpredictability to his character, creating a palpable tension that permeated the entire production. Together, Hakewell and Schmitz delivered performances of unparalleled depth and intensity, showcasing their remarkable talent and anchoring the play with their magnetic presence.

Supporting these stellar performances were the equally impressive duo of Courtney Cavallaro and Kate Fitzpatrick. Cavallaro’s portrayal of Nancy, the maid, brought a refreshing dose of humour and humanity to the dark and suspenseful narrative. Her witty remarks and relatable demeanor added depth to the character, resonating with the audience and providing moments of levity amidst the tension. On the other hand, Fitzpatrick’s portrayal of Elizabeth, another maid, added a layer of depth and complexity to the unfolding mystery. With her nuanced performance, Fitzpatrick brought authenticity to her character, contributing to the intrigue and suspense of the plot. Together, Cavallaro and Fitzpatrick rounded out the cast beautifully, showcasing their remarkable talent and enhancing the overall brilliance of “Gaslight”.

But it wasn’t just the exceptional performances that made “Gaslight” a must-see production. The intricately designed set, with its meticulously detailed furnishings and dimly lit ambience, transported audiences to the gaslit streets of Victorian London, setting the stage for the drama and deception that would unfold. From the ornate furniture to the flickering gas lamps, every aspect of the set was meticulously crafted to immerse viewers in the time period and enhance the atmosphere of suspense and intrigue. The attention to detail was evident in every corner of the stage, creating a rich and immersive environment that drew the audience deeper into the world of the play. As the actors moved seamlessly through the carefully constructed space, the set became as much a character in the production as the performers themselves, adding depth and authenticity to the overall experience. It was a testament to the skill and creativity of the production team, whose dedication to their craft brought the world of “Gaslight” to life in vivid detail.

Every aspect of the production, from the haunting musical score to the subtle lighting cues, worked in perfect harmony to create an atmosphere of tension and suspense that kept viewers on the edge of their seats throughout both parts of the play. The haunting melodies underscored the emotional intensity of each scene, heightening the sense of unease and anticipation. Meanwhile, the strategic use of lighting, with its interplay of shadows and highlights, added depth and dimension to the stage, amplifying the mood and enhancing the drama. Together, these elements combined to immerse the audience in the gripping narrative, ensuring that every moment was filled with palpable tension and intrigue. As the plot unfolded and the stakes grew higher, the synergy of sound and light became increasingly integral to the overall experience, culminating in a mesmerising theatrical journey that left a lasting impression on all who witnessed it.

As the final curtain fell on the gripping conclusion of “Gaslight,” the audience erupted into thunderous applause, rising to their feet in a standing ovation that lasted long after the actors had left the stage. It was a testament to the incredible talent and dedication of the cast and crew, who had poured their hearts and souls into bringing the story to life. Each actor’s performance had been a masterclass in skill and emotion, drawing the audience into the world of the play and holding them spellbound until the very end. Moreover, it was a reminder of the power of live theatre to captivate and inspire, to transport us to new worlds and to provoke thought and emotion in ways that no other art form can. As the applause echoed through the theatre, it was clear that “Gaslight” had left an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of witnessing its brilliance.

For anyone seeking a thrilling theatrical experience that will leave them on the edge of their seats, “Gaslight” at QPAC Playhouse is a must-see production not to be missed.

Gaslight is directed by Queensland Theatre’s Artistic Director Lee Lewis, and produced by Rodney Rigby for Newtheatricals (Come From Away, Jersey Boys, Good Night, Oscar starring Tony Award winner Sean Hayes) and Queensland Theatre. It has been adapted by respected Canadian writers and performers Patty Jamieson and Johnna Wright and world premiered at the internationally renowned Shaw Festival in Canada in 2022.

All photos within this piece are gathered from the Queensland Theatre Instagram.

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