This play based on real life prison letters written to and from a  trio of serial killer protagonists-Ian Brady, Dennis Nilsen and Peter Sutcliffe-  came with high expectations simply due to its subject matter and coming from the pen of Glenn Chandler the creator of ‘Taggart’.

 Despite this there was something slightly flat about the whole performance which only came to life in a few great flickering moments most notably when Nilsen (Aaron Ushe) wound himself up into an  frenzy which made it clear underneath the eerily creepy, effete exterior just how capable of murder he was. Likewise when Sutcliffe (Gareth Morrison) dropped his amiable persona and allowed himself to be overwhelmed by his demonic possessed stare, he too came to life as a cold blooded killer. Brady (Edward Cory) meanwhile remained as inscrutable as ever giving nothing away and refusing even after all these years to discuss his horrific crimes.

 Each character focussed initially on one correspondent each- Janet for Sutcliffe, a fifteen year old boy named John for Brady and William, a gay supermarket worker for Nilsen- but there seemed to be little concern for the recipients of the letters as each killer revealed a sense of concern only for themselves and how they felt they had been mistreated by the media. Brady complained about being force fed due to being on hunger strike and bemoaned the fact he was not allowed to die a dignified death; not a luxury he afforded his victims. Nilsen complained about having his prison love affairs misrepresented in the press whilst Sutcliffe hated how the media portrayed him as a womaniser by keeping a regular correspondence with several women at one time and also denied that he ever tried to escape in the way the media insisted he did.

 The script here has a lot of possibilities but apart from Nilsen’s uncontrolled frenzies, which brought the piece to a peak, the whole thing felt slightly underplayed. On top of this Morrison’s accent as Sutcliffe often felt a bit out to sea although he did manage to sum up a sense of menace when required. It was Brady who came across as the most chilling though as the sense of no remorse he  maintains to this day came across due to the detachment Cory brought to the role. An admirable production but unfortunately not the great one it could have been.


Killers is on at 6.10pm at Assembly Rooms until August 25th

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