This page is no longer active and is for archive purposes only

Brighton Theatre Collective



by Stephen Plaice

18th - 29th August 2008

"Not to be missed" The Brighton Magazine

In Lewes, 1934, Tony Mancini was acquitted of the murder of Violette Kaye. Forty years later, in 1976, he sensationally confessed to her murder in the News of the World. But there were two dead ladies found in trunks in Brighton in the summer of 1934. The second victim, known only as the Girl With Pretty Feet, was never identified, nor was her murderer.

Graham Greene, frequent visitor to Brighton, was fascinated by these gruesome crimes and added many of the details to the novel he was writing -Brighton Rock. Some even whisper that Greene himself was responsible for pregnant Pretty Feet's murder...........perhaps her name was Rose?

This is an amazing show with fabulous actors, an 18 strong Ensemble, Ballroom Dancing, Tango, Murder, Sawn Up Ladies in Trunks and all to be seen in the magnificent Paganini Ballroom at the Old Ship, Brighton's oldest public building.

Local writer, local actors, local story for local audience - East or West, Brighton's Best!

Richard Hawley (Prime Suspect, Love Actually)
Gary Sefton (RSC, Saving Private Ryan)
Sian Webber (National Theatre, Eastenders, Silent Witness)

Paganini Ballroom
Barcelo Brighton Old Ship Hotel
Kings Road Brighton

Evenings 18th - 29th August (inclusive) @ 8pm (Doors 7pm)
Matinees 23rd & 25th August @ 2pm (Doors 1pm)

Tickets £12.50 & £10.50 from Dome Box Office on (01273) 709709 or online

Press notices for this production

'A pimp and a prostitute dance a passionate tango of death in a lurid red light setting, as he clutches the hammer, the weapon of death, while in a nice suburban flat a pregnant young woman is strangled by her married lover as she clutches her swollen pregnant belly. All of it set in Brighton and all of it based on the true stories that seem to have been the inspiration for Graham Greene's Brighton Rock.

Tense, shocking, even funny and utterly engaging, The Brighton Theatre Collective's new production of Trunks by the talented Steven Plaice, at the Old Ship Hotel, is not to be missed. And what a great location The Old Ship is. Not only content with staging this production at the hotel in which Greene's novel commences its action, the Collective has found the most sumptuous Regency location, evoking the many ghosts of Brighton past.

Simple, intelligent sets in a wonderful location are always a winner with me, and this is no exception. Class always wins through in art and this is a class production. In a way, it's almost beautiful. Gary Sefton, Sian Webber and Richard Hawley put in the kind of performance we expect from them; commitment and timing with lots of talent and experience to boot'.
The Brighton Magazine

'That this pacey, enjoyable dip into Brighton's shady past makes a murderous philandering pimp into a likable central character is a credit to the creative team behind it. The Brighton Theatre Collective's inaugural production takes the notorious 1934 trunk murders as it's focus, but lends the grisly, real-life subject matter a richly comic gloss. Corpses complained about how they were being disposed of and sprung back into existence to taunt their killers with torch songs.

Trunks was well acted by Sefton as Tony Mancini, Sian Webber as his doomed lover Vi and Richard Hawley as an awkward, unlikely moral centre of the piece. An ensemble drawn from members of the affiliated Academy of Creative Training brought the commotion of the city to the stage, as the young actors created a better cinema and railway station than clunky props...This was a strong, stylish first production from a new company'
The Argus

Co-Creative Director Janette Eddisford talks to The Argus click here

Press notices for the original production

'A lively essay in the macabre, recreating the Brighton Trunk Murders of 1934 which led that famous seaside resort to be dubbed Torso City. Clearly influenced by Graham Greene and Patrick Hamilton, Plaice's text and Alison Edgar's complementary production also explore the raffish seediness of pre-war Brighton.'
Michael Billington The Guardian

'Alison Edgar's stylish and smoothly choreographed production combines trash with tango culminating in a truly impressive sawing-in-half'
Paul Taylor The Independent

'Shaker productions assemble a powerful production of Stephen Plaice's study of the desperate fall-out of the Depression era.'
Time Out Critic's Choice

'Strongly recommended. See it. If you can get a ticket, that is.'
What's On