Exploring a story that kept 1950s Britain enthralled

Ruth Ellis (Ruth Herd) and Detective Jack Gale (Mike McCluskey)
Ruth Ellis (Ruth Herd) and Detective Jack Gale (Mike McCluskey)

The story of the last woman executed in Britain is told in the next show at the Talisman Theatre, Kenilworth.

The Thrill of Love by Amanda Whittington runs from Monday until November 14.

It focuses on Ruth Ellis, the last woman in Britain to be hanged for murder. The story weaves backwards and forwards in time told through the eyes of Detective Jack Gale. A Billie Holiday soundtrack gives voice to the pain of Ruth Ellis, played by Ruth Herd. Mike McCluskey plays the detective, with the other central characters played by Diane Levison, Claire Bradwell and Julie-Ann Randell.

Director Phil Quinn said: “This promises to be a great night out as our talented technical crew of Brian Tuck, Dik Thacker and Nigel Elliott help you enter the seedy nightclub world of London in the ‘50s, with echoes of the Profumo affair. We follow this crime of passion and ultimate tragedy, leaving the audience wondering why Ruth offers so little defence for the murder of her lover, David Blakely.”

Ruth Ellis was executed in 1955, aged just 28, for the murder of her lover David Blakely. After a strict Catholic upbringing, Ruth left school at 14 to work as a waitress. At 17 she had an affair with a married man and produced a son. At 23 Ruth married and had a second child, but the troubled marriage soon ended in separation, with her husband refusing to acknowledge their daughter. Ruth soon took up with Blakely, but their turbulent relationship was fraught with jealousy. On the evening of Easter Sunday 1955, Ruth shot her lover as he was leaving a local pub.

Phil added: “Ruth deserves to be seen as more than a murderer, victim or heroine. At a time of austerity, her story made a huge impact on popular culture.”

Performances begin at 7.30pm. Tickets cost between £7 and £8.50.

Call 856548 or visit http://talismantheatre.co.uk to book.