Mentioning the name Ruth Ellis to people of a certain age even after over sixty years brings about a strong emotional reaction with some, and even for those not of a certain age, many people know well the name and her story of being the final woman hung in Britain.
|Olivia Sarah Jane Noyce|
This nicely researched play from Merge Theatre (opening my fourth year at Flash) tells at times vividly that story, from the early days of her meetings with her future husband George Ellis (played by Jennifer Etherington), via her success at 'The Little Club' and onto her destructive meeting with David Blakely.
Centre in the play is an extremely solid performance from Olivia Sarah Jane Noyce as Ruth Ellis, portraying the confident and freewilled person with style, whose confidence remains to her final days in Holloway.
Jenny Watson is also excellent as her sister Muriel, the quiet opposite of Ruth and she is superbly emotional in her narration scenes moving the story forward. Connor McCreedy is a coldly played David Blakely, vicious but without being obvious about it.
There are in this generally serious play some lighthearted moments of housewives guides which themselves progress into much darker and gloomier territory as we move through the story. There is a great, but disturbing line describing eggs being prepared as to "beat them like he beats you" which successfully chills and turns these pieces down a grim, but a balanced path. All of the cast are excellent in these scenes, although the glorious over the top feminine performance from Connor is the standout.
If there is one criticism to lay at A Sinner Kissed An Angel is that it is perhaps too long, a significant amount of momentum is lost at times during the play with a few scenes that could have maybe been cut or shortened to make it a more condensed production.
However it is nicely played and a thought provoker and brings forward to a new generation a story of perhaps regret and more than a little injustice that helped turn around the world of criminal law forever.
The Flash Festival 2017 runs between Monday 22nd and Saturday 27th May, 2017 at three venues across the town. Tickets can be found at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/flash-theatre-festival-2017-tickets-34315017140, with details at https://www.facebook.com/FlashFest2017