Angel Street tells the story of the Manninghams, who live on Angel Street in 19th century London. As the curtain rises, all appears to be the essence of Victorian tranquility. It is soon apparent, however, that Mr. Manningham, a suavely handsome man, is slowly driving his gentle, devoted wife, Bella, to the brink of insanity with an insinuating kindness that masks more sinister motives. While he is out, Mrs. Manningham has an unexpected caller: amiable, paternal Inspector Rough from Scotland Yard. Rough is convinced that Mr. Manningham is a homicidal maniac wanted for a murder committed fifteen years earlier in this very house. Gradually, the inspector restores Bella’s confidence in herself and, as the evidence against Manningham unfolds, the author has built and sustained some of the most brilliant, suspenseful sequences in modern theatre.
The play (and its film adaptations) gave rise to the term gaslighting with the meaning “a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented to the victim with the intent of making them doubt their own memory and perception”.
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