Cast : Will Bryant, Paul Bygraves, T.E.Canning, Miranda Colemans, Kelly Craig, Tom Eveling, Johnathon Hansler, Terry Jermyn, Sion Tudor-Owen
Directed by Eliot Giuralarocca
Produced by Heidi Ali
Script - Rosanna Negrotti
Lighting - Cliff Harden
Set - Neil Rider
Sound - Howard Rider
Set Build - Jan Williams
SM - Martin Brady
Who killed the tart round the back of the Askew Road? Bill Wiles is a dead man, hanged in 1953 for cutting her throat. He still walks the streets of Shepherd’s Bush, desperate to clear his name. Rosanna Negrotti's Knackerman is both a supernatural fantasy and a riotous black comedy; Bill must face his demons – and a bunch of scheming misfits – to piece together the truth of his own existence, and ultimately find redemption.
Among the characters Bill encounters is John Reginald Halliday Christie (Terry Jermyn), the real-life serial killer who murdered a number of women – including his own wife – at the notorious address, 10 Rillington Place. The play brings a fascinating new insight to this well-documented sociopath, through the personal perspective of the writer’s mother and aunt. They knew Christie in the early 1950s – they worked as waitresses at a cafe in Notting Hill where he may have picked up several of his victims. Christie would come in every morning and order kippers for breakfast.
Knackerman hails back to a time when Notting Hill and Shepherd’s Bush were slum areas. It evokes the grim, post-war world of powdered eggs and rat-infested bombsites – before the district became ‘bohemian’ in the late fifties and sixties – and a far cry from Richard Curtis’s fairy tale movie of 1999.
An electrifying riotous thriller. A murder mystery gone to hell – a blackly comic whodunnit where all the suspects are six feet under but still as poisonous as the ivy that clings to their graves.
The Times ★★★★
Director Eliot Giuralarocca has assembled a truly outstanding cast...this hellish production is one of the hottest seats around.
One Stop Arts ★★★★★
This really is something a bit special!
South London Scene ★★★★★
The cast oozes previous Thespian accolades from every glistening pore
Dead Curious ★★★★★
You MUST see this...a chiller thriller that will have you roaring with laughter and freezing with fear!
Time Out ★★★★★
Eliot studied English Language and literature at Oxford before training at the GSA conservatoire. He has a wealth of experience working as an Actor and Director. He was nominated for the Best Actor category in the 2012 OFFIES for his portrayal of Stressler in the title role of the Beekeeper. As he rehearsals begin for his imminent production of Knackerman at the White Bear Theater we caught up with him and asked....
What first attracted you to theatre?
I realised it was somewhere where you could show off and not get into trouble! My Archangel Gabriel in the School Nativity play, aged 5 was, I’m reliably informed, a sight to behold.
If you could pick any one person or theatre company to work with on your next project, who/which would it be?
I adore Shakespeare and I’ve had the great good fortune to have performed at Shakespeare’s Globe as an actor. If I could wave my wand I’d love to direct a show there; there’s something about the space with the actors sharing the same light as the audience that just has a bit of magic about it.
How would you describe Off West End today?
Buzzing, underfunded and full of creative energy.
What things in your personal life do you draw upon when you direct?
I try not to draw on my personal life at all. It’s rarely as interesting as the script I’m working on!
Are there any actors/actresses you would like to direct?
The list is endless really. I’m a great admirer of protean actors – people like Mark Rylance, Henry Goodman and Kevin Spacey – though I suspect they can pretty much direct themselves.
Which director do you respect most?
I've learned something from everyone I've worked for, but I'd say that Mike Alfreds was an important influence on my directing work. I had the good fortune to work with him as an actor for a couple of years and learned a great deal about the rigors of Directing and the mechanics and techniques of storytelling and narration. I’ve also worked with Lucy Bailey on a number of occasions as an actor and I have great admiration for her. She’s bold and fearless and her productions always make compelling viewing
What work are you most proud of?
I’m very proud of my current production actually. Knackerman has just opened at the White Bear Theatre Club in Kennington, and I think the writer, Rosanna Negrotti, is an absolutely original and unique new voice. I’m really looking forward to finding out what an audience makes of her play in all it’s malevolent glory, so book your tickets quick and let me know!
Can you tell our readers about what you’re doing now/next?
Next up for me is Blackeyed Theatre’s production of Dracula, which is definitely something for me to get my teeth into. It’s a muscular new adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel by John Ginman, and the show will be touring nationally from the end of September through to spring 2014. We have a fabulous creative team in place and we are well into pre-production. Touch wood, it’s shaping up to be a really exciting project.
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