White Streak Productions, 22 July 2013
This genuinely creepy two-part
melodrama offered an alternative perspective on the Jack the Ripper story. Rather than concentrating on the killer alone,
this production set the grisly events in context. We were given a warts-and-all picture of late nineteenth-century London,
a world of filthy streets, poverty and rapaciousness, where women were forced to turn to prostitution simply to eke out a
could they expect much protection from the police force, despite the presence of the mysterious killer on the streets.
Plenty of resources were devoted to catching him - including having a detective cross-dressing in an attempt to make an undercover
arrest - but no one thought to safeguard the prostitutes. They had to take their lives in their hands whenever they
ventured out, but could not stay in if they wanted to live. They were faced with an impossible choice - to starve or
risk a grisly death.
This production pulled no punches; it was definitely not for younger listeners with its earthy language and
graphic violence, realized through ingenious sonic means. The performances were equally memorable: I liked Kate Nieland's
Rosa - at once hard-boiled yet incredibly vulnerable in this world where life seemed so cheap; and Rachel Hunter-Fawcett's
Mary, a much younger yet perhaps equally worldly-wise person. These two performances were complemented by Michael Roy
Andrew's Coles, an ambivalent personality if there ever was one.