Under the Floorboards

What do Silence of the lambs, Psycho and Texas Chain Saw Massacre have in common? The characters of Buffalo Bill, Norman Bates and Leatherface are all based on the real-life killer and body snatcher Ed Gein, born in Wisconsin in 1906.

All this would make sense, if I was my mother.

Ed Gain was such a nice boy, caring for his highly religious paralyzed mother. Some time after his mother passed away, Ed was arrested on a suspicion of murder. In his house, the police discovered items made from human skulls, bones, hair and skin. In one of the rooms, they found rows of corpses arranged like an audience. Most of the bodies were from the local cemetery, where Ed dug up graves of middle-aged women he thought resembled his mother.

Under the Floorboards picks up the story in 1957. Mother has just died, leaving Ed alone, frightened and confused. But a ‘devoted’ mother doesn’t leave her son even at death, she finds a way to keep pushing Ed deeper into his pending doom. The point of no return is Ed’s realisation: “All this would make sense, if I was my mother.” Poor Ed gives into his murderous urges and turns his home into a house of horrors.

Under the Floorboards is a recording of the one-man horror show, strictly for an adult audience. The show is as compelling as it is unnerving, to the point where you ask yourself: Is it ok even to enjoy this? One of the highlights is Edwina, Ed’s female side personality, sharing some pretty gruesome home economics tips including human face masks and table lamps. A key success factors in horror is knowing what to show and what to leave to imagination. Under the Floorboards excels at this. The worst deeds happen in dark, with sound providing enough clues of what is going on.

For Simon Shaw, who not only performs, but has also written and directed Under the Floorboards, it has clearly been a labour of love. Shaw is a character actor with a strong background in mime. And boy does he make good use of his talent. Shaw portrays Ed as not just a monster, but also as a lost little boy. His childlike innocence makes a stark contrast to his macabre acts. Everything about him is spot on creepy: the wild hair, bony face, high-pitched voice, bulging eyes, slouched posture. Every inch is screaming: run for your life! My final though at curtain call was: Thank god I’m watching this at home.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Johanna Makelainen

Pleasance at EICC

Trainspotting Live

Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose

Bowjangles: Dracula in Space

Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose

Dizney in Drag: Once Upon a Parody

Assembly Checkpoint

Party Ghost

Pleasance at EICC

A Comedy of Operas

Paradise in Augustines



Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

***** (TheAudienceClub.com) **** (Everything-theatre.co.uk) **** (Sardines Magazine). After a successful run at 2019's Edinburgh Fringe, Under the Floorboards returns! In November 1957, the Wisconsin Police Force investigated the home of a timid handyman who would never harm a fly... What they found was a house of horrors... This show is based on the real-life killer and body snatcher Ed Gein who inspired such characters as Norman Bates from Psycho, Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs

Most Popular See More

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £35.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets