In 1969 Glasgow’s Barrowlands Ballroom became the crime scene for a series of gruesome murders. Three young women were killed on their way home from a night out dancing, with some disturbing analogies between each instance. The only eyewitness at the time reported having a short conversation with the alleged murderer, who’d been heard saying “I don’t drink, I pray”. A reference to the Old Testament that earned him the nickname of Bible John.
Today, four young women share a morbid interest in such unsolved murders, becoming engrossed with a tv series retracing the events surrounding unpunished killing sprees. They aim to look at the evidence with fresh eyes, hopeful that something might have escaped the Police during the official investigation. Helped by little more than a corkboard, newspaper cuttings and backwall projections, the impromptu detective team try to reconstruct the facts, making conjectures on the murderer’s identity.
Clues, identikits, timelines and possible suspects frantically pile up, whilst Caitlin McEwan, Ella McLeod, Laurie Ogden and Lauren Santana try to involve the audience in forming their own theories. Their obsession with the killer is relentless, almost irrational. But ultimately, murder and mystery lovers will be disappointed to discover that their quest for the truth doesn’t bring any results, being put to rest as abruptly as it had been unearthed.
What playwright Caitlin McEwan is trying to say is that women should be free to go dancing, enjoy themselves and stay out all night without fearing for their lives. The delivery of this message, however, is muddled by too much information dished out in too little time. As a result, the four actors have to spell things out. In turns they take to the microphone to express their frustration for the current popularity of true crime documentaries, which focus on the perpetrators rather than their victims.
Recipient of Pleasance’s Charlie Hartill Theatre Reserve 2019, Bible John wants to point a finger at the increasing exploitation of crime as a means to entertain an audience, and especially that which sees women as victims. Funny enough, the play does just that; uses gruesome murder as a means to entertain for an hour.
Author: Caitlin McEwan
Director: Lizzie Manwaring
Producer: Bible John and the Pleasance
Box Office: +44 (0)131 226 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/bible-john
Booking Until: 26 August 2019