The Thrill of Love

Wilma’s Rating [rating=3]


It’s not so much the thrill of love as the title suggests, but the sad desperation of love. A story of a beautiful (Marylin Monroe esk) woman, Ruth Ellis, who willingly serves as a punchbag to her cheating boyfriend until eventually she has enough and shoots him dead.

The show tells the true story of the last woman to be hung in England back in 1955 due to her reluctance to give up the man who gave her the gun that she used to kill her boyfriend.

An hour and a half is along time to sit in a theatre without a break, especially when the story line is so emotionally draining. It is not clear why The Thrill of Love chooses not to have an interval but I can only assume it is so as not to break concentration. Sadly, it does leave you shuffling around in your seat and looking at your watch.

There are funny moments within this very serious story. When Ruth requests a bottle of bleach for her hair and is answered with the line ‘this is Holloway not Hollywood’.

Clever use of lights and sounds (similar to that in Constellations) help to change from one scene to the next in a series of police interview room sessions, whilst also telling the story of the circumstances leading up to the event.

Faye Castelow gives a good performance as Ruth Ellis, as does Hilary Tones as gentleman’s club manager Sylvia Shaw. A less convincing performance comes from Maya Wasowicz as Vickie Martin whose overly forced cockney accent left me unable to take her seriously.

The Thrill of Love is a good play, which tells an important historical story and for that reason alone should be seen. However, it does feel like it drags at times. It plays at the beautiful St James Theatre until 4th May 2013.