By Crystal Wood
The story of Jack the Ripper has gone unsolved for 120 years, so don’t expect any answers by seeing this production of Saucy Jack at Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. What you will see is a 60-minute exploration of the infamous serial killer that feels more like a lively university lecture than a dramatic narrative.
Doug McLauchlan, who wrote and stars in the one-man show, is obviously fascinated by the story of Jack the Ripper and goes to great lengths to examine the evidence, and what this legend can tell us about the nature of evil. He recounts the five murders in sometimes-a-little-too-thorough detail (so leave the kids at home), and presents all the evidence that Scotland Yard couldn’t crack. In recounting Jack’s reign of terror, he compares it against more recent events like the war in Iraq and the Somalian genocide (and even such everyday sins as snotty office gossip) to connect the current of evil that runs through us all.
Though the information is compelling, McLauchlan’s take on Jack is confusing at times. Not quite as saucy as the title would suggest, McLauchlan is more of a proper British gentleman. The story gets a little lost in translation, as he jumps in and out of the character, sometimes describing Jack in the third person, sometimes in the first person, and then finally pointing out the important fact that he might not have been one single man at all. This gives the production an overall feeling of “Who am I watching onstage exactly? And what is he trying to tell me?”
Nonetheless, if you’re the type of person who likes to stay up at night reading about unsolved mysteries on Wikipedia, Saucy Jack will make you look at the world’s most elusive killer a little more closely.
– Warning: Mature Language
– Playing at Venue 11, Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace, 16 Ryerson Avenue
Wed, June 30 8:15 PM
Fri, July 2 3:00 PM
Sat, July 3 8:30 PM
Mon, July 5 4:00 PM
Tue, July 6 5:00 PM
Thu, July 8 2:45 PM
Sat, July 10 6:15 PM
Sun, July 11 5:45 PM
– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only), online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, or in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street.