Home » London Theatre Reviews » Review of The Ted Bundy Project at Ovalhouse

Review of The Ted Bundy Project at Ovalhouse

The Ted Bundy Project at Ovalhouse
Credit: Photographer Alex Brenner

What we know is, “the Ted Bundy Project was born from a curiosity about the nature of charm, the label of monster and tension between attraction and repulsion”. What we know is, “Greg [deviser and performer] stumbled upon the confession tapes of Ted Bundy, the American Serial Killer, rapist and necrophile. He couldn’t’ stop listening.” What we know is that “Greg has a wig, a bit of rope, a few YouTube Videos and Bundy’s confession tapes”. What we don’t know is how as an audience, we are supposed to react to this show.

What I do know is that I loved this creatively devised theatrical masterpiece that is  ‘post-modern theatre’. What I do know is that I have been telling people about 1 lunatic 1 ice pick all day! What I also do know, is that I know as much about Ted Bundy after the production as I did before the production.

The Ted Bundy Project is set in the small black box space Upstairs at OvalHouse. The set is a thrust stage where every audience member is uncomfortably close to their neighbour. I can see all audience members and they can see me in this hot and rather cramped space where I shared a double seat and prayed for air-conditioning that didn’t come.

I entered the performance space feeling unsettled. I’m presented with an almost empty set dressed only with a table, a few props, wooden floor and a wooded standing frame/that doubled up as a screen to project videos on. I cannot help to smile as I listen along to familiar pop music of the 1970s playing from an old school record player sat on the table.

Once all audience is seated, we’re welcomed to the space by performer Greg Woead. Greg has a charming presence, a cute alluring smile and he is immediately flirtatious with all of the audience members, looking each of us in the eye whilst he jiggles his hips to the music. This sole performer is dressed in white shorts, t-shirt, ankle socks pulled high and a plimsolls. He goes on to tell us, lecture style what we know to be universal truth about Ted Bundy. Also he tells us what we don’t know.

Greg delivers his carefully constructed text; exposition to set the scene for the rest of the production, establish narrative, characters and for an audience to start to ask questions. This narrative is repeated later in the piece, repetition of the spoken word playing an integral part in this production. Through the use of a few small props and  the power of the spoken word Greg aligns the story of Ted Bundy with the story of one particular child hood memory. The juxtaposition is clear and worrying!

In this cleverly devised piece, words and actions jar, and music and motion don’t fit together nicely. I felt uncomfortable throughout this piece, and I believe I was meant to. I think that was the point. I was tested to see if I would look at the real life horrors, question why I was coming to see a piece about a serial killer, rapist and necrophile. Do I consider this a fun thing to do on a summer’s evening?

Greg uses cleverly mastered theatrical devises, such as speaking along to tape recordings, coupled with the power of multi-media and YouTube, to show his audience the power of watching. We question whether it’s human nature to have a fascination with horror. After all this piece came about as Greg kept clicking on links on his laptop one night in November 2012.

What I watched wasn’t really a story “about” Ted Bundy. Yes, it included his confession tapes which were, as expected, horrible to listen to. Instead it was much more powerful that that. It is a commentary on society, the way we perceive violence, murder and what is considered sexual, alluring, acceptance and horrific. The piece posits, can a nice person have horrid thoughts?  Can an attractive person really commit horrors to another person? As a human, why do we want to watch this violence? When does violence become acceptable? If we imagine hurting another human, but it’s in our head only, is that okay?

This is a thought provoking production, if you are used to watching naturalistic theatre, or large scale west-end performances, be prepared to expect a very different 1 hour of theatre. An hour you will talk about for days after seeing it.  And no, I didn’t google 1 icepick 1 lunatic.

Review by Faye Stockley

+++++++

The Ted Bundy Project

The Ted Bundy Project by Greg Wohead, made and performed by Greg Wohead
A solo performance that began with an interest in Ted Bundy, the American serial killer who confessed to the murders of around 30 young women between 1974 and 1978.

Ovalhouse
52-54 Kennington Oval London SE11 5SW
Tue 17 Jun – Sat 21 Jun, 7:30pm
Tickets  Full: £10.00
Concession: £6.00
Adult themes and content, recommended for ages 16+
Venue: Upstairs
Please note that, regrettably, the upstairs theatre is not currently accessible for wheelchair users.
www.ovalhouse.com
Box office: 020 7582 7680

Well recommended.

Wednesday 18th June 2014

Author

  • Faye Stockley

    Faye read Theatre & Performance at The University of Warwick; she went on to work as a stage manager in London and Edinburgh. She had a year's stint on-board the MV Island Escape as a Social Host and Compere and now works full time as a Recruitment Manager for the broadcast, entertainment and media sectors.

    View all posts
Scroll to Top