Little Known Play By Chiswick Playwright Revived

Patrick Hamilton's Duke of Darkness has not been performed for sixty years


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Chiswick-based writer Patrick Hamilton (1904-1962), who was described by Doris Lessing as " a marvellous novellist who is grossly neglected" is to have one of his rarely seen pieces revived. The Duke of Darkness ( has been adapted by Orlando Wells and will be seen at the Tabard Theatre after a sixty year absence from the London stage.

Hamilton, who wrote Gaslight which became a Hollywood film, lived at Burlington Gardens for 16 years and English Heritage installed a Blue Plaque at his Chiswick address in 2011.

The Duke of Darkness, described as a "compelling but touching play" will be directed by Phoebe Barran and will be presented by Sightline Entertainment at the Tabard Theatre from 16 April to 11 May.

It is the third of a trio of psychological thrillers written by Hamilton in an illustrious career both as a playwright (Gaslight, Rope) and novelist (Hangover Square), which also saw him achieve Hollywood success with Rope directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

The plot is set in France, which is in the grip of long and bloody civil wars. A Duke and his servant, incarcerated for fifteen years, plot their escape and dream of freedom. But in this world of conspiracy and paranoia, where no one is quite who they seem, what will one man sacrifice for his chance of survival?

Orlando Wells, an actor and playwright has been described by locally based critic Michael Billington of the Guardian as " a name to watch ". His first production, The Tin Horizon, recently premiered to wide acclaim at Theatre 503 in London.

The production will be directed by Phoebe Barran, designed by Max Dorey with sound design by David McSeveney and lighting design by Nicki Brown.

The Chiswick connection continues with the casting of locally based Matt Fraser Holland as Marteau and Fred Perry of Sightline Entertainment, who also lives in W4. The full cast for the show is Michael Palmer (The Duke), Jamie Treacher (Gribaud), Sean Pogmore (D’Aublaye), Martin Miller (Duke of Larmorre), Jake Mann (Voulain) and Matt Fraser Holland (Marteau). Patrick Hamilton was born in Sussex but was taken to live in Chiswick by his mother. His education ended just after his fifteenth birthday when his mother withdrew him from Westminster School. His first published work was a poem in 1919.

After a brief career as an actor he became a novelist in his early twenties with the publication of Monday Morning (1925), written when he was nineteen. Craven House (1926) and Twopence Coloured (1928) followed, but his first real success was the play Rope (1929, known as Rope's End in America.

His two most successful plays were Rope and Gaslight, the latter filmed as the British-made version (1940) and the 1944 American remake. His other popular work was Alfred Hitchcock's Rope (1948).

Hangover Square (1941) is often judged his most accomplished work. He became disillusioned with capitalism in the 1930s and became a Marxist. He began to drink while a young man and died in 1962 of cirrhosis of the liver and kidney failure. His last published work was Unknown Assailant, a short novel. He was married twice. His evocation of London in his writings was often praised by others including Graham Greene.

Patrick Hamilton's work was the subject of a special series of films at the National Film Theatre in 2005.


DATES: 16 APRIL – 11 MAY 2013


BOX OFFICE: 0208 995 6035

TICKETS: £17 (£15 Concessions)


April 8, 2013

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