In 1955, Ruth Ellis shot and killed her abusive lover in cold blood. Convicted of the crime at trial, Ruth became the last woman to the hanged for murder in Britain. But what drove Ruth to kill David, her racing driver lover? Why did she plead not guilty to the murder at trial? Who was she trying to protect? Set in the seedy world of 1950s gentlemen’s clubs, The Thrill of Love by Amanda Whittington takes a fresh look at the infamous story of Ruth Ellis and the woman behind the headlines.
A divorcee with a young child to care for, Ruth Ellis works in the kind of nightclubs where there’s more than just a drink on offer. The girls work hard, play hard and dream of a movie-star life. Then she meets the wealthy, womanising David, with whom she becomes obsessed. She also begins seeing Desmond Cussen, a man driven mad with jealousy by her tempestuous and often violent relationship with David. Whittington’s play focuses on Ruth’s interior life, as well as her friendship with three women all working the club scene: the dependable club owner, Sylvia, aspiring actor and model, Vickie and charwoman, Doris. These friends provide comfort to her as she battles abusive lovers and a rabid press. Meanwhile, Detective Jack Gale follows her story from the beginning, hoping to piece together the motive behind why she murdered David and, more importantly, whom she might be protecting.
The Thrill of Love will be performed by the Saddleworth Players at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph, from Saturday 30 March until Saturday 6 April.
Directed by Sue Stephenson, the cast includes Rachael Mayor (Ruth Ellis), Phil Clegg (Jack Gale), Alison Bowers (Sylvia Shaw), Ruth Wild (Vickie Martin), and Emma Sykes (Doris Judd).
Tickets are available online from our booking site or from the box office at Delph Library (Tuesdays 2pm–5pm, Wednesdays and Thursdays 2pm–7pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 9:30am–1pm). The box office telephone number is 01457 874644.