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Post theater company ramps up for psycho-thriller ‘Angel Street’

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Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013 12:00 am

FORT LEE, Va. (Jan. 31, 2013) -- The Theater Company at Fort Lee opens “Angel Street,” a psychological thriller set in Victorian England, on Friday, Feb. 8, starting at 8 p.m. in the Lee Playhouse on Mahone Avenue.

All shows are open to the public. Additional “Angel Street” performances are set for Feb. 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 8 p.m., and Feb. 10, 17 and 24 at 3 p.m.

It is 1880 and something is very wrong in the Manningham home on Angel Street in London.

Objects in the house go missing. Mrs. Manningham is accused, although she has no recollection of her actions. Is she going insane or does Mr. Manningham have a sinister plan? “There are many dark secrets contained in this house and audiences will be on the edge of their seats as the plot unfolds,” said director Joy Williams.

“Angel Street” was written in 1938 by Patrick Hamilton. The play opened in New York with Vincent Price in the role of Mr. Manningham. Most movie fans know the 1944 film version of the story – Gaslight – starring Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, a 19-year-old Angela Lansbury, and Petersburg’s own Joseph Cotten. In fact, the term “gaslighting” – a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented to the victim with the intent of making him/her doubt his/her own memory, perception and sanity – comes from the disturbing plot of Hamilton’s tale.

Mr. Jack Manningham, an arrogant and dismissive husband, is the source of the troubled Mrs. Manningham’s distress and emotional turmoil. Starring as Mr. and Mrs. Manningham are David Atkins and Sarah Legere. Atkins is well-known at the Lee Playhouse for his work in “The King and I,” “Meshuggah-Nuns!” and “Same Time, Next Year.” This is Legere’s first appearance here, although many audience members will have seen her performances at Henrico Theatre Company, CAT Theatre, Firehouse Theatre, Swift Creek Mill, Richmond Shakespeare and Richmond Triangle Players.

Lee Playhouse regular Mike White plays Detective Rough, a quirky retired policeman who suspects Mr. Manningham isn’t who he says he is and may have a rather questionable, perhaps murderous, past. White recently performed in “Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash” at the Henrico Theater, but has appeared on the Lee Playhouse stage in “The Apple Tree,” “Oliver!” and “It’s a Wonderful Life: The Musical” among countless other shows.

Amanda Sims plays Elizabeth, the caring servant who helps Mrs. Manningham and Detective Rough uncover the mysteries of the house on Angel Street. Mara Barrett portrays the saucy, pretty, impudent maid Nancy who seems to have an eye for Mr. Manningham, as does he for her. Sims is a member of the Theater Company at Fort Lee Board of Directors and an Army veteran. She has appeared onstage at the Lee Playhouse in “Pippin,” “The King and I” and “The Boy Friend.” Barrett, another Lee Playhouse newcomer, has many credits in Prince George productions including “The Sound of Music,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “The Music Man,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Honk!”

“This small cast is a delight to work with,” said Williams. “They are very talented, eager and hard working. The show itself, full of intrigue and suspense, is great fun to work on. The audience will enjoy listening to clues to put all the pieces together. And it’s wonderful to watch the fragile Mrs. Manningham find her strength.”

Tickets for “Angel Street” are priced at $12 for adults and $6 for youth. For reservations, group sales or additional information, call the box office at (804) 734-6629.

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