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Edinburgh Fringe: Ladykiller or how to use gender stereotypes to get away with murder, Pleasance

'Her' is a perverse figurehead for female empowerment and it is that contradiction and the darkness that I loved.

Pleasance_4A hotel room, a dead body, a maid covered in blood with a knife in her hand. This isn’t what it looks like, it definitely isn’t.

Writer Madeline Gould’s pitch black play perverts stereotypes to explore female criminality but more than that.

Her (Hannah McClean) uses female stereotypes to her murderous advantage.

Gould has done her research. She knows the psychological profiles of different types of killers, knows the assumptions and the boxes into which criminals are placed.

When Her describes blood it is sensuous and she revels in it as you would a more innocent substance.

Gould has created a deliciously complex character: duplicitous, despicable, clever, brutal and admirable. And McClean superbly captures the contradictions at times vulnerable, fun, charming and terrifying.

Her is a perverse figurehead for female empowerment and it is that darkness and contradiction that I loved.

There is a broader undercurrent of #MeToo anger and while the response is messily extreme, you can’t help but empathise with the frustration at the injustice and pace of change.

Ladykiller also tackles themes of class and in particular the treatment of those in service, the message of mutual respect is loud and clear.

It is a play of dark rumbling wit and observation, one from which you continue to peel away the layers long afterwards. Skillful and powerful writing and performance.

See Ladykiller daily, 1pm at Bunker One, Pleasance until August 27.

Edit 7/10 Ladykiller is transferring to The Pleasance in London at the end of November for details head over to the Pleasance's website.

Ladykiller by Madeline Gould from The Thelmas on Vimeo.

Related posts:

Q&A with director Madelaine Moore who talks about the play and audience responses.

The team behind LadyKiller - The Thelmas - put on another play earlier this year called Coconut which was also rather good.

Q&A with writer Kat Woods, whose play Killymuck is also at the Fringe, talks about theatre elitism and class stereotypes