Review: The Bloody Ballad plays to sold-out crowd at the New Wolsey Studio as part of Pulse Festival

Theatre goers at the New Wolsey Theatre

Theatre goers at the New Wolsey Theatre - Credit: Su Anderson

Hunkered down in the intimate New Wolsey Studio on Saturday, 60-odd people were treated to an evening of blood, mayhem and murder.

Set on the last night of the nine-day Pulse Festival, The Bloody Ballad came to Ipswich and sent many faces smiling home.

In a small 1950s American town Mary has a story to tell but it’s no fairy tale. She works at a ‘gas’ station with her daddy when one day Connor comes in.

She can’t get rid of him and before long they’re dating – just don’t tell daddy.

They grow close until one night with Mary home alone she hears a noise. Petrified it might be her ogre father she lashes out with a knife only to find out it is one of her beau’s brothers.


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This unleashes the cast’s funniest character, Connor’s mamma. She demands Mary be killed but faced with his mamma’s scathing hatred he points the gun at her.

Mamma drops to the floor dead and Connor and Mary embrace. But the local sheriff and his deputies have gotten wise and surround them. Encircled, Connor begs the armed Mary to flee but instead she fires at the police leaving Mary in prison.

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Here with the show’s finale, and with now everyone dressed in orange boiler suits, she recounts her crimes.

The show was funny and concise with superb backing given by Mary’s The Missin’ Fingers blues-rock band. The five on-stage all played instruments, with Mary providing most of the lead vocals. The check-shirted blistering guitarist and dexterous drummer anchored the night’s theatre.

Well worth seeing if the production comes round again. Here’s to next year’s Pulse.

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