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Jack the Ripper


Book and Lyrics by Ron Pember and Denis de Marne
Music by Ron Pember

Director/scenery/costumes: Reginald Woolley;
Pianos: Geoffrey Brawn and Tim Higgs
Musical Director: Tim Higgs
Scenic Design Doreen Hermitage

Players' Theatre, London - 25 June, 1974 (season)
Produced at the Ambassadors Theatre, London, 17th September, 1974. Transferred to the Cambridge Theatre 17th February, 1975. Closed 12 April, 1975 (228 perfs)


The play is a musical reconstruction of incidents relating to the East End murders which took place between Friday, August 31st and Friday, November 9th, 1888. A solution of Jack the Ripper's identity is hinted at, but the play is an atmospheric commentary rather than an historical re-enactment, shifting between reality and artificiality, with characters representing "real" people as well as members of the music hall audience and players. It is an essential feature that some characters are called upon to play more than one role. They thus have a life within the Music Hall and also in reality. The Chairman also plays the authoritative roles of Sir Charles Warren, the Magistrate, and the Dock's Foreman, while Montague Druitt is also known as Toynbee and plays the villain in the melodrama and the magician.

For the chorus

The chorus are on stage for much of the play, being involved both as the audience in the Music Hall scenes and as inhabitants of Whitechapel.

Singing Principals

Polly, Marie, Annie, Lizzie, Martha. The Chairman and Police Sergeant Coles.

Other Principals

Montague, Daniel, Dinky, Bluenose, Slop and Lord Overcoat.

Original Cast:

(Character name in italics)

The Scenes

The fore-stage area represents a Victorian Music Hall with tables, chairs, and a table for the Chairman. Where possible this should be extended into the auditorium in order to link the Audience closely with the Music Hall scenes. Upstage of this is a raised area framed with a false proscenium decorated with lights, which are brought up when a Music Act is being performed. The area beyond represents the "real" streets of Whitechapel


Electric guitar, bass guitar and drums