NEWCASTLE Emlyn-based Attic Players’ spring production for 2019 is “The Thrill of Love” by Amanda Whittington which tells the tragic, true story of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in the UK.

As well as Ruth Ellis herself, the play introduces not only fictional characters typical of the people around her in the last years of her life, but also Vickie Mewes, who quite possibly knew Ruth and was herself a victim of untimely and tragic death.

Although Ruth maintained throughout her trial that she had committed the crime of murder when she shot her lover, David Blakely, it soon becomes evident that 'the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth' is far more complicated.

Further investigation shows that Ruth suffered a life of violence and abuse before she finally broke down and killed the man she loved on Easter Sunday, 1955, after he had rejected her for the last time.

Events leading up to her arrest and subsequent conviction are well documented and there is no doubt that Ruth pulled the trigger six times before David lay dead in the street.

However, not so well publicised during the trial was the ill-treatment she had allegedly endured, not only at the hands of her lover, but while still at home living with her parents.

The obsessive love she had for Blakely drove her to such despair that she felt the only way out was to destroy him, and although she maintained that she was alone responsible, it is clear that she was encouraged and probably assisted in the final act.

There is of course the argument that she knew what she was doing, and the murder was pre-meditated and planned, and that Ruth would know the consequences of her actions, but the conclusion was barbaric nonetheless and there was much protest in the aftermath.

The debate surrounding her treatment following arrest and subsequent trial was probably the catalyst for a change in the law leading to the abolition of hanging, but this came too late for Ruth who was hanged at the age of 28 on July 13, 1955.

The cast and crew have studied the script carefully, comparing it minutely to the facts

as they are documented, and are justifiably proud of the way the characters and their actions are portrayed.

Justine Dodd is a compellingly believable Ruth, sad, angry, and ecstatic in turn, and Beth Woolley sparkles as Vickie Martin, the young woman who becomes involved in the fateful events as they unfold.

Supporting this ill-fated duo are Detective Inspector Gale, very accurately played with appropriate gravitas by Martyn Buck, Sylvia Shaw, a night club manageress, beautifully represented by Semele Xerri, and Doris Judd, a seemingly humble char lady played with great understanding by Sue Hampton.

The 'Thrill of Love' is performed by arrangement with Nick Hern Books, and is an amateur production. It is directed by Suzanne Munn and will be showing in The Attic Theatre, Newcastle Emlyn from Wednesday April 17-Saturday, April 20 inclusive, 7.30pm start, doors open at 7pm.

Tickets are £8 (£6.50 for under-16s) and are on sale at Fair and Fabulous in Newcastle Emlyn, or you can visit to book online.