New Rugby Theatre drama challenges perceptions of the ‘femme fatale’ killer - The Rugby Observer

New Rugby Theatre drama challenges perceptions of the ‘femme fatale’ killer

A ‘GRIPPING’ drama which challenges perceptions of the ‘femme fatale’ killer opens at Rugby Theatre next weekend, to coincide with International Women’s Day.

The Thrill of Love is about the true story of the last woman to be hanged in Britain.

The play follows self-styled ‘blonde bombshell’ Ruth Ellis, who was convicted of killing her unfaithful lover in 1955 – taking a fresh look at the woman behind the sensationalist headlines of the time.

The show’s director Wendy Kay said: “I first came across The Thrill of Love in 2019, and was totally transfixed by the honest, gritty storytelling of Ruth Ellis’s complex life.

“Challenging the provocative nature of newspaper reporting, The Thrill of Love seeks to give a more rounded portrait of a complex woman – one treated badly by men, and potentially wronged by a justice system that handed her a heart-breaking conviction.”

Set to a haunting Billie Holiday soundtrack, The Thrill of Love explores the lives and relationships of the glamorous, sassy and smart women who sought an escape from post-war poverty in the perceived glitz of the London club scene. Led by detective inspector Jack Gale, in film noir style, the play delves into the extraordinary events before and after the notorious murder.

Wendy added: “The play has strong central female characters, and highlights their bonds, friendships and emotional support for each other in a sleazy nightclub world dominated by powerful men.

“The Thrill of Love is not a whodunnit, but instead focuses on what drove Ruth to murder the wealthy racing driver David Blakely.

“Why does she plead ‘not guilty’ but offer no defence? Why does she show no remorse? And who is she trying to protect?

“Ruth’s conviction was a shocking decision that eventually led to the abolition of a barbaric law. And the return of the debate about the death penalty recently shows how important it still is to tell such a relevant story.”

The Thrill of Love runs from March 4-11, with a discounted performance for International Women’s Day on Wednesday March 8.

Visit or call 01788 541234 for tickets.


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