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Polymorph Theatre is currently taking performance bookings for Jan van der Black’s latest one-man show

Abberline’s Artefact

Abberline2.1A life long fascination with the Whitechapel Murders and with the Gothic storytelling tradition lies behind this fascinating one-man show adaptable for theatres and Fringe venues.

Culturally, the Whitechapel Murders have long passed into the realms of folklore and it is, perhaps, not even surprising that many regard the Jack the Ripper “tales” to be just that – a legend. The mystery of “Who Was Jack?” lies at the core of virtually every piece of drama ever created within the subject area – and many and varied have been the answers to that question, ranging from Royal conspiracies to the Loch Ness Monster in disguise (not kidding!).

Jan van der Black’s interest lies elsewhere. A lot is known about the people who were a part of the story – the victims, the police officers, the concerned citizens. Almost universally in theatre and film, these people are either ignored or are turned into cardboard characters who are simply there to be props in the hunt for Jack’s identity.

Abberline’s Artefact is fiction, but it deals with real people. Fred Abberline lived his life as The Man Who Never Caught Jack the Ripper.
How did he feel about that? How did he feel about the women who died?

What if he could talk to them?

What if Abberline left something to be found? What if that artefact could connect the modern world to the past?


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Photographs by Jarno Leppanen (c) 2015

31st of August, 1888 – There was a murder, in Whitechapel.

In 1929, after a long and distinguished career followed by a quiet retirement in Bournemouth,
Frederick Abberline – The Man Who Never Caught Jack The Ripper – died at No. 195 Holdenhurst Rd.

Now it’s 2015. Retired shopkeeper John Davis has been experiencing blackouts ever since he moved in.
Ever since he found

Abberline’s Artefact


Written and performed by Jan van der Black
Directed by Penny Gkritzapi


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