Jack The Ripper - performed October 2014
By Ron Pember and Denis de Marne
Performed with the kind permission of Samuel French
Director - Kerry King
|Marie Kelly||Nancy Dines|
|Lizzie Stride||Jan Watkins|
|Montague Druitt||John Roberts|
|Annie Chapman & Caria Richards||Caroline Roberts|
|Polly Anne Nichols & Esther Stuart||Ella Smith|
|Daniel Mendoza||Malachy Luckie|
|Martha Tabrum & Saucy Rosebud||Amanda Rowe|
|Catherine Eddowes||June Wheeler|
|Frances Coles||Sue Hill|
|Lisa Pearl||Christine Phasey|
|Dinky Nine-Eights||Nnigel Morton|
|Bluenose Stack||Nigel Lister|
|Slop Wallace||Glyn Hill|
|Police Sergent Coles & Gerald Pope||Lester Pearse|
|Police Constable||Gordon Prior|
|Charlie (Landlord) & Police Constable||Nigel Rowe|
|Lord Overcoat||Martin Rayner|
|Amos Green||Aiden Gilmore|
|Paddy Thomas (Chorus)||Patti Tomlinson|
|Sara Hope (Chorus)||Sue Housley|
|Clarice Sargent (Chorus)||Chris Sadd|
In 1888 during the months of August to November the Whitechapel area of London was the scene of some of th most brutal murders that have, since their time, become a source of mystery and intrigue. prostitution became the only source of income for most women in the lower classes, living in this area. Mostly middle aged and destitute, they turned to alcohol and sex in the desperate struggle for survival. The horrific deaths of five prostitutes (and it was actually believed at the time that there were at least eight victims) were associated with the name "Jack the Ripper", a name signed on a letter to police. Many theories have been suggested as to the killer's identity, some claim he was a doctor or Jewish cobbler or perhaps Walter Sickett (an artist) and then Montague Druitt, (who later committed suicide by jumping in the Thames) and some even named Prince Albert, grandson of Queen Victoria.
To this day the name of the man who committed these horrible murders is still unknown. Or is it? Recent news articles have declared that it may have been a 23 year-old Polish immigrant named Aaron Kosminski.
It was a harsh, often painful life for most East End "residents" in which the music hall provided often the only, abeit fleeting, respite. This musical, "Jack The Ripper", brings friendship, lust and corruption, music hall and cockney humour and a host of colourful characters. The songs are catchy entertaining, and Witty.
The Manifest Theatre Group was back to its very best with this musical feast, Jack The Ripper.
Highlighting the brutal regime of a notorious murderer would, at first, seem an unlikely theme for any kind of entertainment, but it really worked, cleverly combining tragedy and gaiety.
Staged over five nights to packed audiences at Manningtree's Manifest Theatre, the story of the brutal killer's reign of terror in London's East End over a four-month period in 1888 and the effect it had on those living in the area were skilfully intertwined.
The action alternated between the streets of Whitechapel and a music hall and the changes to the scenery, although minimal, were quickly and quietly carried out. But this is typical of the group, which strives to make each production as professional as possible, this time led by director Kerry King.
The colourful costumes, scenery and lighting all contributed, and it is no mean feat to have more than 20 people all on a relatively small stage at any one time.
The story was told mainly in song and there were 19 in the 17 scenes, so no doubt some sore throats at the end of the week among the cast, headed by Nancy Dines, Alan Wheeler, Jan Watkins and John Roberts.
This review would not be complete without mentioning one particular scene - the four policemen undercover as "ladies of the night",
which brought the biggest laugh of the night.
(click on an image below to view a larger photo - arrow keys navigate through the set)