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Ladykiller by Madeline Gould – a virtual reality theatre performance

Ladykiller The ThelmasThis production was experienced in virtual reality on LIVR (www.livr.co.uk) and is no longer running at the venue where the performance was captured.

Madeline Gould’s monologue is not for the faint-hearted. When the lights go up there is a corpse on stage, lying face down in a pool of blood. A maid enters, quietly. We are in a hotel then. But the hands of the maid are bloodied. As is her apron. And her face. “It’s not what it looks like,” she says to us but if it isn’t what it looks like then what on earth is going on?

The maid – billed simply as “Her” – is played by Hannah McClean who gives a chirpy, careering performance that has the audience laughing at her character’s deviant history while, almost simultaneously, recoiling at the cold-hearted murder manifesto she so playfully articulates in defence of her actions. McClean has excellent comic timing and, seen live or in virtual reality, it is easy to find yourself immersed in the intimate horrors of her monologue as she prowls the tiny stage like a caged panther and challenges the audience – you – to do… something. But what?

To stop her before she kills again? To condemn her? To believe her? McClean’s carefully tuned performance leaves the audience in no doubt that the maid is a bona fide psychopath but we also side with her and sympathise about the lethal banality of customer service and the awfulness of hotel guests. She even manages to make us understand and accept that things will sometimes turn out the way they appear to have done on this occasion. It could be you in the maid’s uniform. And if not, it could be you on the floor.

Highly recommended.

4 stars

Review by Louis Mazzini

A chambermaid, a hotel room and a dead woman. It’s not what it looks like, really, it’s not. It was self-defence… and anyway, the woman was asking for it. Ladykiller is a blood-soaked morality tale about power, privilege, and tearing up the gender rule book on psychopathy. A jet-black comedy for the age of the gig economy, it presents us with a genuinely complex and compelling female character, tapping into the feminist zeitgeist in a most unexpected way.

Venue – The Pleasance, Edinburgh
Captured performance – August 2018 @ Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Presented by: The Thelmas
Writer: Madeline Gould
Director: Madelaine Moore
Performed by: Hannah McClean as HER
Designer: Baska Wesolowska
Lighting design: Jennifer Rose
Supported by: Oldham Coliseum and Ovalhouse Theatre

Website: www.thethelmas.co.uk/ladykiller
Twitter: @TheThelmas #LADYKILLERplay

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