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A Play of Jack the Ripper and Mary Kelly

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  • A Play of Jack the Ripper and Mary Kelly

    For anyone interested in seeing a play about the last victim of Jack the Ripper, Mary Kelly, "The Only Girl in the World, a Play of Jack the Ripper" by Glyn Maxwell opens 29th April 2008- 24th May 2008 at The Arcola Theatre, London, UK. ( It's a stunning short play based on the information collected by the police and news reporters about Mary's life. Everything is in there, from the broken window to "the Violet I picked from Mother's Grave". Here is the link to the theatre web page for further details. A beautiful play by one of Britain's finest contemporary playwrights which suggests what she might have been like and how the last months of her life played out.
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  • #2
    The Only Girl In The World

    Hi All, went to see this production last night,the opening night. I must say that I was most Impressed ! The Arcola In Dalston can only be described as an "art's theatre", It's divided up Into three studio's,the one that the play In question was In (studio 2) was what can only be described as " Intimate" to say the least ! Seating no more than approximately fifty. There is no stage,as such and the actors are virtually performing "In you're face",so to speak ! The director,Alex Clifton has obviously gone for the already well tried and tested vivaciously atractive redheaded version of the legend that was Mary Kelly,however this aside the young actress, Jennifer Kidd plays the part exceedingly well ! What I found to be most utterly stunning was her ability to manipulate her accent,you could never quite guess whether It was Irish or Welsh ! She also threw In some Gaelic,I must confess In my Ignorance of this language I did'nt know If It was Irish Gaelic or Welsh, I thought this aspect of the production was a very thoughtfull Inclusion on the behalf of either the writer,Glyn Maxwell or the director ! Joe Barnett was played brilliantly by John Wark,complete with the alleged "stammer",but no sign of the alleged "echolia" . The only other participant In the production was a musician (fiddle) whom between playing his extracts moved into different places on the small set thus giving that "menacing onlooker" Impression. For the ripperoligist this play does not attempt to put forward any new,or unknown theories about the subject of Jack The Ripper,It does however manage to Include all aspects of the Kelly murder,even to the point of the alleged throwing up In the street Incident on the morning of the 9th Nov . It must be remembered however that this play Is primarily about the relationship between Mary Kelly and Joe Barnett ,the "Ripper" Incidents,and Inevitably her death are a secondary consideration . The three participants are already on the set as you enter and they never leave It the whole 90 minutes of the performance ! Effective use Is made of an old multi payned window light taken from a Victorian "sash box" window that Is suspended fom above,sound effects and lighting our used to make scene changes seem less obvious ! I can recommend that anyone living within reasonable travelling distance go and see It, I don't think you'll be disapointed ! Oh by the way ,you do get a brief rendition of "A Violet I Picked From Mother's Grave " ! Regards Bill. PS. Spied famous actor Jack Shepherd In the bar prior to the performance ! However he did'nt go to see The Only Girl In The World as there was an Ibsen play on In studio 1 . Snob !


    • #3
      I thought people might be interested in some photos to accompany the very interesting review above... please do come and see the play!

      More information, pictures and special offers also available at our facebook group:


      • #4

        Chantelle Staynings for Fractured Venus presents

        A Play of Jack the Ripper
        by Glyn Maxwell

        Arcola Theatre
        29 April – 24 May 2008

        “Glyn Maxwell is the best dramatic poet now at work in English” Daily Telegraph

        A new play about the final victim of Jack the Ripper, set around the narrow backstreets and noisy pubs of Whitechapel in 1888, will be performed at the Arcola Theatre in London for four weeks only from 29th April.

        The Only Girl in the World, by award-winning Islington-based playwright Glyn Maxwell, re-examines the last few days in the life of 25-year-old Irish immigrant Mary Jane Kelly, who was the final and youngest victim of Jack the Ripper. It focuses on her relationship with Joseph Barnett, her former lover who gave evidence at her inquest in 1888 and has been suspected of being Jack the Ripper.

        Mehmet Ergen (Arcola Theatre) said today: “With his play Liberty opening at the Globe later this year, Glyn Maxwell is at the height of his powers as a London writer. He has written a fascinating play set on Arcola's doorstep that successfully traverses the past and present of the East End. A perfect fit for Arcola Studio 2."

        Mary Kelly will be portrayed by rising young actress Jennifer Kidd, who was recently seen as Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice and as Mary Lovett in Holding Fire! for Shakespeare’s Globe and in The Changeling for Cheek by Jowl. She said today: “The beauty of Maxwell's play is to allow Mary Kelly to shine through as a real woman, with enormous charisma and strength but whose circumstances changed sufficiently to lead to her earning a living through prostitution around Miller's Court in Spitalfields by 1888.”

        “Coming just after the conviction of Steve Wright for murdering five prostitutes in Ipswich and the controversy surrounding the London Dungeon’s plans to use former prostitutes to show visitors around its ‘Jack the Ripper’ exhibition, it seems particularly important to tell this story – and to remember that no woman is ever ‘just’ a prostitute.”

        Joseph Barnett will be played by John Wark, whose credits include roles for the Almeida Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Bristol Old Vic, and his recent critically acclaimed performance in the title role of Jamie the Saxt (Finborough Theatre).

        Glyn Maxwell is one of our most exciting and acclaimed contemporary playwrights.

        His next play Liberty! premieres at Shakespeare’s Globe this summer, and his novel The Girl Who Was Going To Die has just been released. His plays have been staged in London (National, Almeida, BAC), New York and Edinburgh, and his eight books of poetry have won several awards.

        The Only Girl in the World is directed by Alex Clifton (Pursued by a Bear, and former staff director at ENO). It is produced by award-winning young Producer Chantelle Staynings, who was recently awarded the Stage One New Producer’s Bursary for her sell-out production of Nicholas de Jongh’s Plague over England at the Finborough Theatre. Her credits also include the current Jingo: A Farce of War at the Finborough Theatre (starring Susannah Harker) and the Scottish premiere of Sondheim’s Passion.


        • #5
          Hi all,

          We're attempting to get the Producer, Chantelle Staynings, and the actor who plays Mary Kelly, Jennifer Kidd, on the Rippercast podcast very soon.

          If you're in London, be sure to try and check out the play and let us know what you think.