Review: Ladykiller, Pleasance

Some excellent monologuing here in The Thelma’s Ladykiller playing a short run at the Pleasance after conquering Edinburgh

“It’s not what it looks like…”

That there was something special about Madeline Gould’s Ladykiller was obvious even in the 15 minute format I saw it in three years ago as part of The Thelmas’ Ladylogue. So to see it all grown up to nearly an hour in length and having smashed an Edinburgh Festival run to huge acclaim, feels like a well-earned victory for a striking piece of story-telling.

Directed by Madelaine Moore and acted by Hannah McLean, this monologue takes us right through the wringer in the aftermath of a bloody murder. At first sight, it was the chambermaid, in a hotel room, or was it…? Gould and McLean toy brilliantly with our expectations as our protagonist presents her case and we buy into it. Cos she’s a woman innit. 


But we’re quickly disabused of our preconceptions, exposed for the hypocrites that we are in allowing such gendered portrayals of the world to permeate so fully. And McClean’s timing is expert as she carefully excises all of this to reveal the psychopath beneath – Gould neatly suggesting we all have one deep down. 

And once the deliciously dark comedy slots into place, Ladykiller becomes murderously enjoyable, even as it slices closer to the bone in its exploration of deviant behaviour and how it is can be used to ‘play the game’ particularly if you’re a female serial killer. Worth looking out for if and when it comes back.

Running time: 60 minutes (without interval)
Photo: Greg Veit
Ladykiller is booking at the Pleasance Theatre until 2nd December

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