Killers (3 stars)

This article is from 2013


An insight into murderers' minds

Bathed in harsh white spotlights, three of Britain’s most notorious killers – Dennis Nilsen, Ian Brady and Peter Sutcliffe – sit in front of the audience, reading letters they’ve written to admirers from their prisons or secure hospitals. But if you’re hoping for fresh insights into the minds of these men from Glenn Chandler’s play, there are few to be found – it’s perhaps not surprising, in fact, how banal much of their correspondence is.

More interesting is the mirror that the show holds up to our own fascination with these horribly charismatic figures – that of both the unseen letter writers, with their strange need for connection with mass murderers, and of the Assembly Rooms audience itself, with its own voyeuristic interest.

Director Liam Rudden’s tight production is slick and polished, pitch-perfect in its cold, clinical tone. Arron Usher is a perhaps overly camp, flouncing Nilsen; Gareth Morrison is both soppy and sinister as Sutcliffe; and Edward Cory’s Brady is convincingly chilling. The show drags in places, and could have done with a more dramatic sense of structure, but it’s still solid, thought-provoking work.

Assembly Rooms, 0844 693 3008, until 25 Aug, £15 (£12).


  • 3 stars

Boys of the Empire Productions / The Assembly Rooms. Ian Brady. Peter Sutcliffe. Dennis Nilsen. One Moors Murderer, the Yorkshire Ripper and a necrophiliac slayer of young men, between them responsible for more than thirty deaths. Locked away for life, their only communication with the outside world are letters to their…