Thursday, September 28

Ripper – Hill Street Theatre

A small ‘black box’ theatre venue with a pronounced AC thrum and uncomfortable chairs does not auger well for this brand new musical by Pete Sneddon.

However, once the action started I am pleasantly surprised, both by the quality of the acting, the script and the music accompanying this pacy rock opera, directed efficiently by Mark Jeary-Fairbairn. It just goes to show what can be produced on a tight budget, with enough commitment and talented actors.

A few tweaks of the lighting set up would improve the audience experience, with bright LEDs behind the stage area causing some unnecessary glare issues, particularly for the front row.

That having been said, John Christopher is excellent in the lead role, which requires real commitment and attack from the very start, and which he delivers in spades, with an electrifying performance. Sometimes, with real(?) knife in hand he is truly terrifying, particularly for the young ladies in the front row I expect.

Essentially a three-hander, John is joined on stage by the fine acting talent of Owen G Redmond, as Fred, the detective who is getting closer to the perpetrator, and Marianne Kelly as Mary, the prostitute that he wants to whisk away from the Rippers’ bloody tirade.

This one does have a bit of an aha moment at the end, but no spoilers here, and when it comes it is beautifully acted. Strangely, this is one of the few Fringe shows I would happily have watched for another 30 minutes, it did feel a little mean.

Whilst this does have the feel of a ‘workshop’ piece for now, there is certainly enough to warrant further investigation and future development.

Reviewer: Greg Holstead

Reviewed: 16th August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.