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The Thrill of Love

Date

10th March 2018

Society

Codsall Dramatic Society

Venue

Codsall Village Hall

Type of Production

Play

Directors

Wendy Peterson & Colin Peterson

Report

Author: Jean Beard

Once again a contribution to the Codsall Community Arts Festival was made by Codsall Drama Society and they never chose the easy option. This play was no exception.

The play, by Amanda Whittingham, was based around the life of Ruth Ellis, the last person In England to be executed for murder. Her life and the people and the times in which she lived was not at all the fashionable and glamorous one enjoyed by John Profumo, Stephen Ward and Christine Keeler but more of heartbreak and difficult decisions. Seduced by a Canadian soldier who left her pregnant and alone, she did what she could to maintain her life and to keep on the right side of the manipulators and drug dealers. She appeared to have a weakness for violent and jealous men and night clubs. Prostitution, abortions, drugs and fast cars were part of her everyday life but she was always conscious of her appearance and this she maintained until the end appearing in Court smartly dressed and with her hair beautifully styled.

The play demanded full attention as DI Jack Gale (Ray Manning) narrated the story and showed sympathy towards Ruth (Ali Hughes). Ali who portrayed both the determination that enabled Ruth to live the life she had chosen, or which circumstances had chosen for her, and the softer and vulnerable side when on the receiving end of the cruelty shown by her lover David. A dramatic and sad end to the play when Ruth was found guilty and despite all of the protests and national press involvement the hanging still went ahead.     

A small cast, all female with the exception of Ray Manning kept the audience enthralled during the performance. Ruth’s friends Sylvia (Adele Evans), Vicki (Katie Hallam) and Doris (Sammi Rhead) helped to keep the action moving and all the cast were well into their characters.

 A good set with effective sound and lighting and the music of Billie Holiday was played throughout. From programme details I understand this music was chosen by the play’s author to accompany the action. This was very appropriate given the life lived by Billie Holiday and there were certainly many similarities in the lives of the two women.