André Morin & Julie Lumsden. Photo Credit: David Cooper.


By Johnna Wright and Patty Jamieson

“I know it sounds mad, but — I think there is something, someone, up in the attic.”

Bella Manningham thinks she’s losing her mind.  In the evenings, she hears strange sounds and the gas lights dim for no apparent reason.  But is she losing her grip on reality, or is it being loosened for her?

Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 play gave us the word we now use for an insidious form of mental abuse.  This Canadian adaptation reimagines the classic thriller from a modern perspective, with a “what if” that takes Bella’s life in a new and dangerous direction.  In this Gaslight, there is no police inspector to swoop in and solve the mystery.  No one is coming to save Bella.  The question is, will she be able to find the strength – and cunning – to save herself?

“[It’s] a total overhaul, complete with a nifty Act 1 curtain that forces audiences to spill into the lobby, sputtering, ‘What should she do now?'”

New York Times

“Tweaked Gaslight at Shaw Festival is skilled and suspenseful”

Toronto Star

“[serves up] the expected, enjoyable tropes of the mystery genre — suspense, plot twists, interpersonal intrigue — while giving the material a satisfying contemporary spin.”

Globe and Mail

“The innovation comes through in the elegance of the writing, which becomes a constant, subtle cut-and-thrust…”

Toronto Star

“Our two new authors have masterfully developed a novel twist in which the Bella is no damsel in distress, but rather cunning…. The story bends beautifully as the audience is rooting for Bella by the end instead of feeling sorry for her supposed sad plight.”

Broadway World

Production Details

3 Female

1 Male

120 minutes (including intermission)

By Johnna Wright & Patty Jamieson

Production History

Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario (Premiere)

May-October 2022

Vertigo Theatre, Calgary, Alberta

March-April 2023

Chemainus Theatre, Chemainus, BC

April-May 2023

Watermark Theatre, North Rustico, PEI

July-August 2023

Western Canada Theatre, Kamloops, BC

October 2023

New Theatricals, Australia (Multi-city tour)

February-September 2024

Julie Lumsden (Shaw Festival Premiere, 2022) Photo by David Cooper

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