Back to reviews

“The Thrill of Love”

Not really knowing what to expect, I was impressed with this offering from the Rep.  It had so many facets from the amusing to the shocking.  This was the story of Ruth Ellis, the last women to be hung in the UK, via snapshots of her life leading up to the shooting, her subsequent confession and hanging.

The opening, showing Ruth Ellis shooting her lover was a sit-up-straight and pay attention moment, which caught the imagination, and the finale was stunning but disturbing in its simplicity.

Director Adam Croft was blessed in his cast, and whilst I am not a fan of blackouts in general, I must say that in this piece they were used most effectively.  I also commend Adam on his decision not to have the cast take a bow, it may be controversial in some quarters, but it meant that the audience left still in the thrall of the play.

Lighting was excellent, enhancing the scenes, and the final effect was unexpected and shocking, very well done.  The music was well-chosen, echoing the sounds that Ruth Ellis obviously loved, and evocative of the era.

The very simple set was used well, and somehow echoed the feeling of the crime and the times.

Costumes were mostly good, but some were out of the period.

Grace Reinhold-Gittins gave an exemplary performance of Ruth Ellis.  The glimpses into her life, the abuse and betrayal suffered at the hand of her lover rang true, as did her relationship with Doris, the cleaner at the club where Ruth worked.  A very strong performance, which made her crumbling at the end all the more poignant.

Doris was played very well by Elise Crosby, she was quite meek to start out with, but gradually found her voice as Ruth got more and more into her troubled life.  The bond between these two ladies was good.

Jo Collett played Sylvia Shaw, the no-nonsense manager of the club where Ruth worked.  I liked Jo’s portrayal, she was upfront and said it as it was, a good foil to the other ladies.

Sophie Brewer played Vickie Martin (Valerie), who fell into a job at the club, but dreamt of more, and eventually went overseas.  A good portrayal, but I wondered if she should have been a little more dreamy in aspect at times, as a contrast to the other ladies?

The only man in the cast was Joe Butcher as Inspector Gale, the policeman who tried to get behind why Ruth confessed and wouldn’t retract her statement.  A very good characterisation, Joe always comes up trumps, and gets under the skin of his character.  

An unexpectedly enlightening evening at the theatre, enhanced by good direction and acting – another ‘well done’ to the Rep.

Dunstable Rep


review date: 22nd  November 2018

Little Theatre, Dunstable

Director:  Adam Croft


Back to reviews