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London Road at the National Theatre

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by Catherine Stobbs (subscribe)
I'm an actress and freelance writer living in North London
Event: -
In late 2006 the UK was shocked by the discovery of five bodies in Ipswich. As the case progressed it was discovered that the bodies belonged to five missing sex-workers from the local area. A new play premiering at the National Theatre, explores the events leading up to and beyond the discovery of the five women, and how it effected the community.

London Road (so named after the road where the murderer live) written by Alecky Blythe relives the story and events that occurred that autumn, using experimental music and rhythmical speech techniques. Not quite a 'musical', the featured songs are based on the speech patterns of members of the community who were interviewed by the writer during the tragedy. The irony being that she originally set out to write a piece about the growing kerb-crawling trend, and Blythe was in the middle of collecting information from residents of the area, as the gruesome discovery happened, and a murder inquiry began.

The idea of the play is not to deliberately shock or sensationalise the crime, but provide insight about how the people of Ipswich felt discovering they had a murderer on their doorstep. It's unusual style and almost taboo subject matter, means that it is not one for the faint-hearted, and would definitely suit an audience who enters the theatre with an open mind.

Alecky Blythes previous work has won awards for its originality, and she often writes pieces that are close to the knuckle. Her previous work includes interviews with refugees of the Georgian-Russian war, and her 2003 piece 'Come out Eli' was about gunman Eli Hall, who held a 22 year-old hostage in Hackney in 2002.

Groundbreaking and heavy stuff, definitely one for the curious, and avid theatre-goer, but a difficult piece not to be taken half-heartedly. To book tickets and for more information about the piece check out the National Theatre's website.

Visit London Road's page for video interviews with those involved.
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Why? For a different theatrical experience
When: From now until 18th of June, dates and times vary
Where: National Theatre, South Bank SE1 9PX
Cost: From 12
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