Drama club will tackle the gripping tale of Ruth Ellis - the last woman to be hanged in the UK

Louise West will play Ruth Ellis

Louise West will play Ruth Ellis - Credit: Archant

Huntingdon Drama Club’s next production will be The Thrill of Love which is based on the story of Ruth Ellis - the last woman to be hanged in the UK.

Ellis - a model and nightclub hostess - was convicted of the murder of her playboy, racing driver lover, David Blakely, outside The Magdala pub, in Hampstead, in April 1955 and sentenced to death. The 28-year-old divorcee was hanged at Holloway Prison, by Albert Pierepoint, in July of the same year.

Ellis, the mother of a son, aged 10 and a daughter, aged three, had a chaotic personal life and The Thrill of Love, written by Amanda Whittington, takes a fresh look at the woman behind the headlines.

Huntingdon Drama Club’s adaptation of this gripping drama, seeks to further explore some of unanswered questions about the criminal case and invites the audience to make up its own mind about whether the verdict and sentence were fair. The Hunts Post spoke to director, Sandra Birnie, who admitted she was excited about the production, which she expects to evolve during the rehearsal period.

“The play is essentially about trying to unravel the truth,” explains Sandra.

“We will present the facts, and the evidence of the trial will be verbatim, but there are lots of unanswered questions and we want the audience to make up their own minds.

“We are now into rehearsals and the cast are fascinated with the story and developing the characters. A lot of things don’t add up and it will be exciting to see what conclusions people reach at the end of this process.”

Most Read

Huntingdon Drama Club’s artistic director, Dean Laccohee, added: “Most people will be familiar withe facts surrounding the case of Ruth Ellis, but this production is about filling in the gaps. It is not about ‘who’, but ‘why’.

It is well known that Ellis, who will be played by Louise West, worked in the kind of nightclubs where there was more than just a drink on offer and the clientele were usually high profile and wealthy. Ellis had an on-off relationship with Blakely, but he was engaged to another woman and was abusive towards her, but it is not clear what went wrong or why Ellis decided to kill him and then offer no defence at her trial.

INFO: The Trill of Love runs from March 21-24 and will be staged at All Saints Church, in Huntingdon.

Tickets are on sale now, priced at £8/£10, and available online: www.huntingdondramaclub.org.uk.