Pros: A really unusual and thought-provoking piece of theatre. It forces us to consider our own mawkish fascination with gore and leaves us squirming in our seats by the end.
Cons: Left a little bit short and ended quite abruptly, leaving the audience wondering if it had finished. Could have done with an extra 15 minutes and more of a conclusion.
As we walked from the bar through the crumbling, winding corridors of the basement of Shoreditch Town Hall, I thought to myself that this was the perfect location to go and watch a performance about a notorious serial killer. It seemed like the kind of place that one might operate.
We entered a bare brick room furnished only with a table with wooden panels at front, an old 70’s record player and a sports bag. After a while Greg Wohead entered dressed in the preppy tennis whites that serial killer Ted Bundy used to wear. He introduced the concept behind the performance: he’d stumbled across Ted Bundy’s confession tapes a few years previously and had obsessively listened to them all night. This had been the inspiration to creating the show.
Initially he teased the audience, giving some mundane facts about Ted Bundy’s life before getting into ‘the juicy stuff’, namely the story of how he had stalked and killed one of his victims. Using only the power of descriptions of the act, music from the era and props that he pulled out of the bag (and the temporary assistance of one member of the audience) Greg made the story of the murder of Georgann Hawkins horrifyingly realistic and extremely compelling. We were disgusted but we wanted to know more. Greg at times listened to an old 1980’s walkman and mimicked the voice of Ted Bundy chillingly confessing to Georgann’s murder.
Intermittently throughout the performance a video was projected onto the wooden panel at the front. It showed a group of men in modern day clothes watching something, screaming, laughing and covering their eyes whilst one member of the group was continuously sick into a bin. Later we discovered that this was a real life reaction video and the men were in fact watching an infamous video of sadistic murder, mutilation and necrophilia. It really hammered home the horrible fascination people have with these types of crime.
Overall this was a very well written and performed piece of theatre. It did what good theatre should: it made us feel so awkward that we squirmed in our seats at times and left us talking about it for hours afterwards. Writer and performer Greg Wohead has created a clever, funny yet disturbing piece of theatre that makes you feel a little complicit and stays with you long after it’s finished.
Written and Performed by: Greg Wohead
Booking information: This play has now ended in London but will be touring the UK until the end of June 2015.