The Thrill of Love

Commissioned by New Vic Theatre (2013)
Published by Nick Hern Books

Photo: Andrew Billington

“The truth: rarely pure, never simple. Well, not on her side of town. She might catch its eye in a shop-front, then turn up her collar, walk on.”

A hostess in the West End ‘gentlemen’s clubs’, Ruth Ellis works hard, plays hard and dreams of a movie-star life. Yet in 1955, the self-styled ‘blonde bombshell’ is convicted of murder and becomes the last woman to be hanged in Great Britain.

Ruth’s crime is re-examined in the light of the society she lived in and the experiences that led to her shooting her lover. Through the eyes of film noir Detective Inspector Gale – and the haunting voice of Billie Holiday – The Thrill of Love explores the enigma of Ruth Ellis: a woman whose short but explosive life still resonates.

Facts & Figures

The Thrill of Love is currently Number One in Nick Hern Books Top Ten Most Performed Plays.

Directed by James Dacre, the original production toured to the Stephen Joseph Theatre and St. James Theatre, London.

Maxine Peake played Ruth Ellis in a 2016 adaptation for BBC Radio 4. The Savvy Productions cast included Joe Armstrong and Siobhan Finneran.

The Thrill of Love: New Vic Theatre


The Thrill of Love

“Amanda Whittington's play starts with a siren image of Ellis in satin underwear looking like Marilyn Monroe. But like much in this work, the surface image is a mere deception.”

The Guardian

“Concurrent to this heart-breaking story is the narration by Inspector Jack Gale who comes across like a Cockney Marlowe. Some of his dialogue is sparkling, and so noir you could walk it down a dark alleyway and put a Fedora on it.”

The Killing Times

“The show is terrific, too, on the warmth, bitchiness and complexities of female friendship at a time when, even if women knew the rules of the game, they often still end up the losers in a man's world.”

The Guardian

The Thrill of Love

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Also by Amanda Whittington