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Ritual In Blood

Venue: Nottingham Playhouse, Nottingham
Dates: Friday 25th May - Saturday 16th June
Tickets: 5 - 17

31st May 2001
Ritual In Blood
entertainment block
Gory stuff

Directed by Timothy Walker, Ritual in Blood is a powerful, compelling account of Jewish life in 13th century England.

The play is set in Lincoln in 1255 and based on a true story centered on the legend of Little St Hugh of Lincoln.

Reviewed by Carol Griffith

Ritual in Blood weaves a tale of how religion and greed can easily twist the role of truth.

Execution of Jews in 1191
Ritual in Blood is set during an era when executions of Jews was common.

A tragic accident culminates in Little Hugh, a peasant boy, becoming canonised when the lies and deceit of those associated with him spiral out of control.

Most of the play is acted on a very dark stage, and throughout the performance graphics and information are screened on a huge backdrop, which adds to the atmosphere of mystery, death and deceit.

Stephen Berkoff
Ritual In Blood author Stephen Berkoff

Steven Berkoff, the author, has done much research for this production and the historical content is evident.

It is also worth doing a little background reading before the play, the tale of Little Hugh appears in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales – The Prioress Tale.

The play is set during the period when ‘blood libel’ had undergone a revival. It deems that Jews murder non-Jews in order to obtain their blood for the Passover.

The blood libel led to trials and massacres of Jews in the Middle Ages and early modern times.

To the uninitiated much of the first half can be spent trying to understand where everyone and everything fits into the production, but once this becomes clear the audience can sit back - but not relax - to watch this haunting, and at times daunting play.

3/5

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