Bonded by Blood
Henry Dell and Alana Armstrong
Spotlites @ The Merchants' Hall
In 1966, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were convicted of murdering five children on the Yorkshire Moors.
In 2014 3B Theatre thought it was a sensible idea to create a musical about this horrific pair, and in so doing have created one of the most unethical pieces of theatre at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
Henry Dell and Alana Armstrong take centre stage in possibly the dingiest venue in the city, to perform the new musical, Bonded by Blood. The production takes the audience from the initial killing spree through the court process, and begins to hint at what made these two young adults to murder innocent children.
However, the whole structure is extremely disjointed and involves the two actors dressing as Satan's helpers (in odd cut-up white sheets) and responding to the voice of the Devil in order to push the "story" on.
The songs are not good. Using the same lyrics over and over again within one number, there is very little choreography in the piece. At one point, the voice of Satan decides to sing a song by possessing one of the actors. “The Satan Sing-Along Song” is one of the most awkward and ethically incorrect spectacles I have ever seen on a theatre stage.
As the actor playing both the Devil and Brady tries and fails to get the audience clapping along to his ironically upbeat and happy number, you cannot help but wonder what the writer was thinking by putting this in the production.
Around twenty-five minutes into the show, I seriously began to question the motivation and purpose behind this surreal and immoral production. However, the writers (Henry Dell and Alana Armstrong) evidently tried to cover their tracks by giving Satan a monologue that reels off many different reasons for staging the show. It’s just a shame that none of these examples shine through in the work created.
You can’t help but get the feeling that the company should have never chosen this subject matter, as I am sure a different topic may have come across far better.
Reviewer: Liam Blain