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Watermill Young Company - Mary Kelly's Bed

1st to 4th November 2006.

This is from the Newbury Weekly News.

Modern day horror

Watermill Young Company hark back to the past in macabre murder tale

Watermilll Young Company: Mary Kelly's Bed, at The Watermill, from Wednesday, November 1 to Saturday, November 4

Ade Morris' Mary Kelly's Bed is a truly disturbing psychological thriller. Mary Jane Kelly, Jack the Ripper's last victim, was found murdered on her bed in 1888. The multi-murderer was never found and the debate about his identity continues today.

Meaty stuff for the Watermill Young Company to perform, but they did it to such a professional standard that I must commend their acting and excellent performances.

The play juxtaposes the horrific happening in 1888 with the present day. Steph, (Steph Rae) is an art student whose project is to explore the extraordinary paintings of Walter Sickert who was inspired by the macabre murders.

Designer Susannah Henry symbolically reflects this in large paintings on easels which become stretchers and coffins and the 1888 characters in masks hovering in the background are a constant reminder of the horrendous past events.

It is a complex plot MJ (Alice Bailey) is a shop assistant who lodges with Steph and her gay brother Joe (John Harding) whose best friend Geoff (Gareth Warne) is straight. MJ really fancies ex-marine Geoff, but is afraid to show it.

Steph has experienced a frightful childhood sexual experience and finds it difficult to relate to men, so she manipulates John (Malcolm Ellison) to seek retribution and murder her friends, the pictures shown in the art on the stage.

She has become totally possessed by the murders so her final act is to slit Geoff's throat - a most gruesome end.

This was very much an ensemble production and all of the cast performed with confidence, commitment and flair.

Director Ade Morris has created a startlingly powerful drama.