“Angel Street,” a mystery set in 1880s Victorian England, is exactly the kind of play that Archbold Community Theatre can sink its teeth into and wow audiences.
With many ACT veterans, including husband-and-wife duo Steve and Teresa Van- Sickle of Burlington-Elmira on stage, the acting is superb. With the whole performance taking place on one set, set builders didn’t have to resort to turntables, swinging walls, or other tricks. They could just make the Giffey Hall stage a perfect example of an English drawing room.
And with the intimate setting of Giffey Hall, the audience didn’t have trouble hearing the actors or seeing the action. From the front row seats to thosee against the back wall, the audience feels like they are part of the stage.
It’s Steve, and especially Teresa, who carry most of the weight of the show; he as the domineering and abusive husband, she as the meek wife who’s being driven out of her mind.
Randy Stuckey, West Unity, arrives on the scene as a retired police detective, and he assumes quite a bit of the load. It is he who must convince Teresa’s character that she is not going out of her mind, and he does it well.
The Manninghams have two servants, Elizabeth and Nancy, played by Jan Delaney, Archbold, and Corryn Short, formerly of Wauseon; both are excellent in their roles.
While “Angel Street” is billed as a thriller, or a psychological thriller, ACT’s production feels more like a mystery, a real “whodunit.”
We watch Steve’s Jack Manningham verbally and psychologically torture his poor wife Bella, but it’s with the arrival of Stuckey’s Sergeant Rough that things really get interesting.
It’s not known if the original author, English dramatist Patrick Hamilton, intended for there to be the occasional chuckle during the show, but there were a few times the audience had a laugh. The laughs serve to relieve some of what could be very heavy tension.
Archbold Community Theatre performs “Angel Street” three more times: Friday and Saturday, March 12-13, at 8 pm, and Sunday, March 14, at 2:30 pm.–David Pugh