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‘The Thrill Of Love’

by Amanda Whittington

  • Read-through: Wednesday, June 14th at 7.30.                                             
  • Open Auditions: on Sunday, June 18th at 3pm.
  • Playing Dates: November 17th-25th 2017.                                                                         
  • Director: Rodney Figaro.
  • Assistant Director: Andrew Bruce.

In 1955 Ruth Ellis was convicted of the willful murder of her lover, David Blakely and, on July 13th  was judicially executed within the grounds of Holloway Prison. She was the last woman to be hanged in England and it was the pervading sense of public sympathy and outrage surrounding her death which fostered a change in attitude, subsequently resulting in the repeal of the death penalty in 1965. Between Ruth’s execution and the repeal there were further death sentences imposed for capital crimes, but by then repeals of sentences were frequent.

“The Thrill of Love” reveals Ruth’s background and lifestyle in the months leading up to the moment when she shot and fatally wounded Blakely outside a North London pub and follows her interrogation, trial and committal.

The play has remarkable roles for four women, a major role for a man and a telling male cameo.

Ruth Ellis – A professional nightclub hostess and occasional glamour model, 29 years old at the time of the shooting. The product of an abusive childhood, she is an abandoned GI bride and survivor of marriage to a violent alcoholic. An heroically resilient and optimistic woman, determined to succeed in a post-war Britain which offered women of her class and lack of education few opportunities. She is besotted by Blakeley. Regrettably, Ruth consistently makes bad choices.

Sylvia Shaw – A nightclub manageress. Cynical and un-shockable, she has seen and heard it all and has long ago come to terms with the realities of human weakness and venality. Her age? Hard to guess under the surface of make-up and cynicism…. but somewhere between 35 and 50.

Vickie Martin – A fledgling “good time girl” from Staines whose sole ambition is to be a famous film star – “just like Diana Dors”. Her accent is “common” although she aspires to “posh”. A regular at the notorious parties at Cliveden in Buckinghamshire and a protégé of Steven Ward (who later became the focus of the Christine Keeler “sex and spies” scandal). She comes, to nobody’s surprise, to a bad end, dying in a motor crash before her 25th birthday.

Doris Judd – The “char” and general helper at Ruth’s nightclub and, later, her confidante. Adamant that she is not one of the hostesses, Doris is a down-to-earth influence in an otherwise raffish world. Probably in her late ‘thirties or early ‘forties.

Jack Gale – Detective inspector, perhaps mid-forties. Laid back, wearied by his long exposure to the seedier side of life but genuinely seeking the truth behind the crime. A bachelor, a whisky-drinker and a devotee of the legendary blues singers Billie Holliday, Bessie Smith et al..

The Judge at Ruth’s trial – Dry, implacable, authoritarian. A brief but telling role for an actor in his fifties, sixties or older.

“The Thrill of Love” AUDITION PIECES

Ruth and Jack Gale – Pages 4,5 and 6

Ruth and Doris – From Scene Four, page 63 to foot of page 65

Sylvia and Jack Gale – Scene Three, page 8 to foot of page 12.

Vickie and Sylvia – Scene Four, page 13 to foot page 16.

Ruth, Sylvia and Doris – Scene Two, page 53 to foot of page 55.

The Judge (together with Ruth and Gale) – Yours are the lines assigned to Vickie on pages 79-83. We will use a male actor in this role.

I hope you will want to be involved in “THRILL” – it’s a tightly crafted piece, full of humour and insight, with passages of pathos and intense drama. This is a production that our audiences will remember for a long time.  So…. looking forward to seeing you on June 7th for the reading – and June 18th at the auditions.

Rodney Figaro.


Copies of the play are currently available at the Stables box office. A returnable deposit of £10 is required.

For further information, please contact: Rodney Figaro or Andrew Bruce.


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