Victorian Gothic

Thanks to the numerous adventures of Sherlock Holmes, we arguably don’t have the best impression of the Victorian Police Detective—especially when it comes to either their intelligence or deductive skills. This is clearly something which Steven Langley—the writer, performer and producer of Victorian Gothic—aims to correct, presenting us here with a good, honest copper with heart, understanding and decency. (Even if his initial cry of “Oh God, I’m knackered!” might suggest otherwise.)

Langley is centred, succinct and always emotionally in the moment

This is—or, at least, seems to be—a public lecture by the Metropolitan Police’s Inspector Albert Thorne, grounded on a decade’s experience policing the impoverished, crime-infested East End of London during the final decade of the 19th century. As writer, Langley clearly feels he has to face up to another of our cultural expectations, given that it’s genuinely difficult nowadays to not see those fog-laden Victorian London streets through the cracked lens of “Saucy Jack”. Detective Thorne is no conspiracy theorist, however; for him, the impoverished, crime-ridden East End is the real Jack the Ripper.

We learn much about the man in the course of the hour we spend together: the honest copper who works his way up the ranks, the family man who loves his wife (a Victoria to his Albert) and children, and feels responsibility for the police officers under his command—even annoying “Station Joker” William Smith. He’s presented, in no uncertain terms, as a reliable narrator, even when his dreams become somewhat fantastical, or the cruelty and violence of the East End verges into the obscene. “Skeletons in cupboards are not uncommon,” Thorne tells us. He appears to be an exception.

As a performer, Langley is centred, succinct and always emotionally in the moment—without milking those several moments that teeter on the brink of Dickensian sentimentality. As a writer, Langley also effectively contrasts the good man Thorne with the evils of an incestuous, self-protecting Establishment. Despite this, though, the conclusion of the play lacks sufficient emotional and narrative punch which, given the many delights and horrors of the preceding hour, is rather a shame.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Royal Lyceum Theatre

Mrs Puntila And Her Man Matti

★★
Traverse Theatre

W*nk Buddies

★★★
Traverse Theatre

Pride Plays

★★★★
Multiple Venues

Oor Wullie

★★★★
Oran Mor / Traverse Theatre

Fly Me To The Moon

★★★★
Platform / Traverse Theatre

The Panopticon

★★★★

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 £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

(Being the deliberations of Inspector Albert Thorne, the Metropolitan Police Force, Scotland Yard, London, 1899). Turn-of-the-century London. This solo play delves into the murky underworld of the capital's depraved East End. A lively lecture, given by respected Police Inspector Albert Thorne, recalls his memories of working and living there. As an outsider, he takes his young family to start a new life in a "place full of wonder". But, it isn't long before he realises the horrors of London and the dispossessed souls on its streets... The play deals with migration, ambition and deliverance.

Most Popular See More

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets