A compelling drama based on the real life story of Ruth Ellis – the last woman in Britain to be hanged – opens at The Stables Theatre next Friday, November 17.
Ruth Ellis was executed in July 1955 at Holloway Prison by Albert Pierrpoint for the murder of her lover, racing driver David Blakely, outside the Magdala public house in Hampstead. Six bullets were fired - one ricocheted off the road and hit an innocent passerby.
Ruth had been married to George Ellis between 1950 and 1955 and at the time of the shooting was also seeing Desmond Cussen, a former RAF pilot, while conducting a passionate affair with Blakely who was repeatedly unfaithful and physically abusive.
She had two children and was working as a nightclub hostess.
Her story was one that shocked and compelled the nation. Some saw Ellis as a victim of circumstance and abusive relationships, while others viewed her as a remorseless and cold-blooded killer.
This acclaimed play by Amanda Whittington explores the fatalistic circumstances that led to the killing of Blakely and Ruth’s subsequent trial and execution.
Following an unhappy, abusive childhood and a series of mundane jobs, she chose the seedy world of “glamour” modelling and work as a hostess in London nightclubs.
A succession of bad choices took her from a married American GI, to an alcoholic husband, to the fatal relationship with Blakely – and it was her almost manic obsession for him which precipitated his murder.
Whittington weaves a fascinating fabric around the known facts, incorporating bitter humour and profound sympathy. You can decide for yourself not whether she was guilty – the facts and her own admission convicted her – but whether Ruth Ellis deserved to die or was a victim of choice and difficult circumstance.
The production is directed by Rodney Figaro, with a cast including Claire Bolt, David Morley Lisa Harmer-Pope and Caroline Gurden.
The Thrilll Of Love runs from November 17-25. There is a matinee on Sunday 19 November at 2pm, and no performance on Monday. Tickets £13 on 01424 423221 or www.stablestheatre.co.uk.