Abberline's Artefact

Chief Inspector Abberline is known as the man that failed to catch Jack the Ripper. In what was once his house, retired shopkeeper John Davis finds that the former policeman’s soul cannot rest with the guilt of failing to stop the serial killer. A fine idea for a story, but a shoddy script coupled with lacklustre tech leads to a unsatisfying production.

A hollow production that fails to say anything meaningful on Abberline, the Ripper or any of his victims.

Jan van der Black is a fine actor and there is a distinctive feeling to the characters he plays. The physicality of both characters are distinct and it’s a shame that this is not utilised more. But without a better script there isn’t much to be done.

The initial mystery works, the character trying to deal with his blackouts has great potential, but after Abberline appears it's sidelined and no resolution is given. It’s completely superfluous and it would be better just to concentrate on one character. But from the titular character's arrival the play starts to descend into a mundane extended monologue. The Ripper murders are endlessly fascinating and it's been the vehicle for many great works. I appreciate that they try and take a less titillating route, but the production fails to shine any new light on the incident.

Quite often, the fact that between five or eight women were brutally murdered by the Ripper is used for merely for plot purposes. Abberline’s Artefacts tries to take a more tactful route, but by doing so only reinforces this trend. Abberline carries guilt but is absolved by the canonical five in quick succession as they tell him it wasn’t his fault. It’s hollow and rushed and provides the real low point of the production.

We hear the Ripper victims talk to Abberline through tech ques, but they all sound like the same person putting on a variety of not very good accents. The voice acting is poor and there is a lot of cringe worthy ‘cor blikey govener I’m getting stabbed!’

This is sadly a hollow production that fails to say anything meaningful on Abberline, the Ripper or any of his victims. 

Reviews by James W. Woe

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

31 August, 1888: a murder in Whitechapel. Not the first, not even the first that month. 1929: after a long and distinguished career followed by a quiet retirement in Bournemouth, Frederick Abberline, the man who never caught Jack the Ripper, dies at 195 Holdenhurst Road. Now it’s 2016. Retired shopkeeper John Davis has been experiencing blackouts ever since he moved in. Ever since he found Abberline’s Artefact. A ghost story within a ghost story. Did Abberline lay his failure to rest? What if he could talk to the victims? What would they say to him?