Skip to main content


Perth Theatre
Four stars

Not everyone is left in the dark in Kai Fischer’s reality-confounding revival of Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 potboiler, given fresh life when it first gave rise to the term ‘gaslighting’, a form of of psychological manipulation used to convince victims that they’re mad. When Meg Fraser’s tweed-clad Inspector Rough swoops into Bella Manningham’s increasingly dimly-lit living room, it is with the tireless gusto of an avenging angel seeking to protect womankind from men like Bella’s husband Jack.

On the face of things, Jack, as played with quiet malevolence by Robin Laing, is a standard issue post-Victorian husband and master of his house, with all the everyday misogyny this implies. Full-on flirtation with Ruby Richardson’s sassed-up maid Nancy is just the half of it, and it is clear from the state of Esme Bayley’s woman on the verge Bella that things have gone a little bit further than what passes as normal behaviour.

Things are disappearing from under Bella’s nose, who, in Bayley’s trembling portrayal, looks like she might shatter into a million pieces any second. Cue Fraser’s gloriously meta Inspector Rough, who stomps about, offering glimpses of a thoroughly modern way of doing things, even as it is suggested Rough might be a product of Bella’s fevered imagination.

Set on Fischer’s doll’s house of a set in the gloom of Christoph Wagner’s lighting, such reimaginings are a game enough way of loosening up a play very much of its time. Fischer’s mix of melodrama, noir and something far stranger comes through the thumps and bumps of Matt Padden’s sound design by way of MJ McCarthy’s dream-like chanson. Any fresh light this sheds can’t help but be dimmed by Hamilton’s off-kilter script, so the delirium it induces may be a portent of abusive relationships to come, but without any guarantee of the equivalent of an Inspector Rough to sort things out for the better.

The Herald, March 27th 2019



Popular posts from this blog

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1 1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77) 3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77) 4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77) 5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77) 6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77) 7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77) 8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78) 9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78) 10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79)  11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79) 12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79)  13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79) 14. JOLT See Saw (6/79) 15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79) 16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79) 17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79) 18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79) 19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79) 20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79) 21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79) 22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79) 23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79) 24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80) 25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980) 1. THE REZILL

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

DISC 1 1. THE STONE ROSES   -  Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3   -  Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART   -  Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS   -  Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY  -  Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!   -  Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS  -  I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS  -  In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES   -  Everso 10. THE SEERS   -  Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND  -  You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS  -  We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE   -  Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS   -  Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND  -  In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES  -  Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS   -  Justice In Freedom (12" Version) 1. THE STONE ROSES    Don’t Stop ( Silvertone   ORE   1989) The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds

Edinburgh Rocks – The Capital's Music Scene in the 1950s and Early 1960s

Edinburgh has always been a vintage city. Yet, for youngsters growing up in the shadow of World War Two as well as a pervading air of tight-lipped Calvinism, they were dreich times indeed. The founding of the Edinburgh International Festival in 1947 and the subsequent Fringe it spawned may have livened up the city for a couple of weeks in August as long as you were fans of theatre, opera and classical music, but the pubs still shut early, and on Sundays weren't open at all. But Edinburgh too has always had a flipside beyond such official channels, and, in a twitch-hipped expression of the sort of cultural duality Robert Louis Stevenson recognised in his novel, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a vibrant dance-hall scene grew up across the city. Audiences flocked to emporiums such as the Cavendish in Tollcross, the Eldorado in Leith, The Plaza in Morningside and, most glamorous of all due to its revolving stage, the Palais in Fountainbridge. Here the likes of Joe Loss and Ted Heath broug