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Feminist Kill the Ripper revisits macabre Victorian tale

You've heard of Jack the Ripper. But you probably haven't heard the story quite the way this darkly comic revenge fantasy tells it.
Kill the Ripper
Nathania Bernabe, Jackie T. Hanlin, and Katrina Teitz are onstage in Kill the Ripper, June 16 to 19 at Anvil Theatre in New Westminster.

You’ve heard the story of Jack the Ripper. But have you heard it told from the point of view of the women he preyed upon?

The tale of the Victorian era serial killer is coming to the stage in a new, darkly comic, female-led production at the Anvil Theatre.

Kill the Ripper is onstage in New Westminster June 16 to 19. The local show is part of a tour that begins at North Vancouver’s Presentation House Theatre June 2 to 4 and finishes up July 7 to 9 and July 14 to 16 at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver.

A press release notes the story follows three working women in Whitechapel at the height of Jack the Ripper’s infamous 1888 murder spree.

As multiple men in power (Ben Francis) refuse to take them seriously, Kit (Jackie Hanlin), Pudding (Katrina Tietz) and Viola (Nathania Bernabe) decide they must teach, arm and protect themselves.

The Geekenders production is premiering after more than three years of development, supported by Playwrights Theatre Centre and Presentation House.

It’s a followup to a string of popular productions by Vancouver artist Fairlith Harvey, including 2017 Spirit of the Fringe award-winner Slumber Here and a critically acclaimed run of Alice in Glitterland in 2019.

Kill The Ripper was originally scheduled to première in October 2021 and then in January 2022 – a perfect demonstration of the challenges artists have faced since the art of the pandemic and their determination to keep creating.

“The last two years have been so hard and so disheartening, but audiences are clearly eager, and there’s an urgency around live arts that we’re excited to meet with this timely story about women, especially queer women, empowering themselves to stay safe and reshape the world,” Harvey said in the release.

Kill the Ripper reunites Harvey with her Alice in Glitterland co-director Phay Moores.

It features over-the-top fight and movement sequences by Affair of Honor, an original score combining 19th-century murder ballads and modern beats composed by Alison Jenkins, sumptuous costume design by Joelle Wyminga, gaslit set design by Emily Dotson and lighting design by Christian Ching.

Onstage: Kill the Ripper in New Westminster

  • What: Kill the Ripper, a Geekenders production
  • Where: Anvil Theatre, 777 Columbia St., New West
  • When: Thursday, June 16 to Sunday, June 19, with shows at 7:30 p.m.  on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday
  • Tickets: $25 to $35, plus service charges. Buy online.

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
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