Burke and Hare – A Musical Play is based on the true story of Edinburgh’s notorious murderers William Burke and William Hare. The story is set in the 1820’s when Edinburgh is becoming wealthy and has many grand new buildings but also a great deal of squalid accommodation and slums in the Old Town. The digging of the newly opened Union Canal required many Irish labourers but now that the canal is finished many of them are out of work and short of money, including Burke and Hare. A temporary solution is found when an old resident of their lodging house dies. They sell the body to Dr. Knox at the Medical School where there is a great need of bodies for dissection.Once the money has gone they decide that, as there are no natural deaths imminent, they will have to find another way of generating bodies. They first kill Mary, a prostitute, then a young match-seller named Jamie. Their final murder, not planned in advance, is of Mrs. Docherty, a neighbour. The police catch them before they can sell Mrs. Docherty’s body and they are arrested and tried for murder. Hare is persuaded to turn King’s evidence, leaving Burke to be convicted of the crime. At the end, a young girl recites the playground rhyme: Up the close and doon the stair, But and Ben wi’ Burke and HareBurke’s the butcher, Hare’s the thief,Knox the boy who buys the beef!The production is entertaining, in a somewhat dark way. The music, written specially for it, is reminiscent of Sondheim, and is played very well. The acting and singing is good throughout. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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The Blurb

An original youth theatre production portrays how the notorious murderers conducted their evil trade in supplying cadavers to Edinburgh's Medical School. Abundantly song-filled demonstration of love, death, hypocrisy, deceit and humour. Suitable for everyone.

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