Kara Tointon with Rupert Young, left, and Keith Allen
From Strictly to Scary by Gaslight . . .
KARA Tointon is perhaps best known for playing Dawn Swann in EastEnders as well as being the 2010 winner of Strictly Come Dancing and, more recently, for her role as Rosalie in ITV’s Mr Selfridge.
But she has also been carving out quite a name for herself on the West End stage. Her Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion, with Rupert Everett and Dianna Rigg, garnered rave reviews as did her appearances in Alan Ayckbourn’s dark comedy Absent Friends and clever farce Relatively Speaking, when The Telegraph was moved to declare after the latter: “There are few more exciting young actresses now working on the West End stage. ”
And now after comedy we are about to see a much darker side to Kara as Bella Manningham in a national tour of Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 psychological thriller Gaslight. The tour starts with its premiere at The New Alexandra Theatre on 6 January, the region’s first major production of the New Year.
Set in 1880 this is a Victorian melodrama, murder mystery, thriller and drama all rolled into one with Bella living in fear of her calculating, controlling husband Jack, played by Rupert Young (Merlin), a man with all the charm of a scorpion, who has a habit of disappearing each evening and who refuses to explain where he goes.
Does Bella really hear noises from the empty flat upstairs? Do the gaslights really fade and then get brighter? Do objects really disappear? Are mysterious forces pushing her over the edge into madness – or is her mind being manipulated by something closer to home.
Into their strange world arrives Rough, a retired detective, played by Keith Allen, fresh from the celebrated West End production of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming, and with him comes a revelation which will change the lives of Jack and Bella for ever.
The play is one of the longest running
non-musical productions on Broadway with 1,295 performances from 1941 to
1944 and was turned into a British film in 1940 starring Anton Walbrook
and, in 1944, Hollywood produced its version starring Ingrid Bergman,
Charles Boyer and Joseph Cotton. Be
This week the delightful Kara, star of the 2017 version, called in at The Alex to talk to Behind The Arras's Roger Clarke. about Gaslight, as well as acting, the West End and her dyslexia.
Gaslight runs at The New Alexandra Theatre 6-14 January, 2017.