Ellis became notorious as she was the last woman in England to be executed on 13th July 1955 in Holloway Prison.
Ellis was sentenced to death by hanging at the Old Bailey in 1955 for shooting her lover, 25-year-old racing driver David Blakely, outside the Magdala public house in North London on Easter Sunday.
The story of Ruth Ellis has intrigued the Nation for over 60 years, with books, films, radio and theatre interpretations of this infamous case. In this production we see episodes in Ruth Ellis’s life (Freya Fulton) and Inspector Gale (Andrew Foulks) piecing the pieces of evidence he finds together.
We meet the manageress of the Gentlemen’s Club Sylvia Shaw (Jo Booth) where Ellis was a Hostess who dreams of escape, being befriended by Diana Dors, of fast lives and bright lights, and returning home in a silver Rolls-Royce. Ruth’s best friend another hostess Vickie Martin (Kirsty Hattton) and the char lady Dorris (Adel Firth) all finally drawn characters who play an important role in Ruth Ellis life.
It’s a small cast finely performed, I partially enjoyed the interaction of Inspector Gale’s questioning trying to find the answers to solve the jigsaw puzzle of the murder of Ellis lover, David Blakely and especially the confession scene with Ruth Ellis.
To create the 1950’s look it was played against a black minimalist set relying on furnishing, props and lighting to set the scene, I liked the ‘Dansette’ record player with LP’s scattered around playing Billie Holiday provides the soundtrack to Ruth’s life, in which the fantasy of another, better existence is always just out of reach and the record keeps sticking, a bar, black and white tables and chairs creating a ‘Film Noir’ look. Sound was used with great effect with a lot of music and some good special effects.
Great care was taken in choosing the 50’s costumes, handbags, shoes hair and makeup, Ellis’s was outstanding, the fitted suits and dresses were spot on, well done the costume department.
The acting was brilliant, Frea Fulton as Ruth Ellis was outstanding capturing not only the looks, the London accent and the coldness of a murderess.
If you want to see an interesting historical, gritty drama based on a true story I recommend you go along to see this and when you get home look up why Ruth Ellis was the last woman to be hanged?
The Thrill of Love is on 19th May to 25th May at the Northenden Players Theatre Club Church Road. 7:30pm.
Tickets and membership 0161 445 6868.
Reviewed by Ian Hills Wythenshawe FM