Ripper is an unfortunate example of a show that may have promise, but not quite the ability to realise it. This telling of Jack the Ripper starts with a monologue by Jack himself before showing interactions between a police detective, Frederick Abberline, and a ‘whore’, Mary, who talk of the horrifying actions that Jack commits. These characters then continue through the rest of the show before a final, exciting twist-ending. The overall plot and story telling of this production is paced well and keeps it admittedly interesting and engaging. The dialogue is fairly well written and the characters certainly have their own personalities and identities, such as the police detective being an alcoholic and Mary having aspirations past her profession, but the sexual nature and uncomfortable eye contact made by the Ripper and police detective makes for a slightly uneasy watch.

an unfortunate example of a show that may have promise, but not quite the ability to realize it.

The music is probably the greatest downfall of this show. This rock based musical generally fits the edgy and gritty nature of 19th Century London and the vocals slot well into this style. But the lyrics sometimes appeared uninteresting or unimportant to the story. Some songs would end on the same line repeated multiple times with the characters and plot gaining nothing from the repetition. The music itself was fairly well composed, but there weren’t any melodies I left the theatre humming or lyrics being sung on my way home, which sadly leaves me finding it somewhat forgettable. It would also have been nice to see more full-cast numbers with harmonies and structural variety, as I found it to be a very solo-heavy show.

The cast generally did a good job with what they had, although there were points where the men seemed to become almost cartoonishly angry, which drew me out of the show. Shannon Daly, who played Mary, was personally my standout with a very pretty but surprisingly powerful voice, and a good solid character. Owen Redmond performed his character of a defeated man on the edge to great success, his vocals suiting the rock music well, although sometimes he came across somewhat parody-like in the high notes. John Christopher commits to the part of Jack with immense gusto, and performs with an energy that can’t be denied. His vocals began somewhat shaky, but he seemed to warm up during the show and was enjoyable to listen throughout.

There is definite promise for the music and show, but there seems to be a need for more workshopping of the lyrics and music to get it to a point of being exemplary.

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Reviews by Tom Rolph

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The Blurb

1888: a string of brutal murders terrorises the residents of Whitechapel in London. The detective in charge begins to suspect someone close, but who? He is ignored by his peers, he is determined to bring the Ripper to justice. As the body count rises, he begins to question his own sanity as he spirals deeper and deeper into the mind of the world's most notorious killer. The blood is on whose hands? Step behind the knife and find out from the Ripper!

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