Christie in Love

Christie in Love is an early play by Howard Brenton concerning the life of serial killer John Christie, who murdered at least seven women between 1943 and 1953, after which he was caught, tried and hanged.

Christie in Love
Written byHoward Brenton
Date premiered23 November 1969 (1969-11-23)
Place premieredOval House
Original languageEnglish
SettingA police station, 10 Rillington Place[1]

Stage history

The play, Brenton's first for Portable Theatre, was directed by David Hare, designed by Tony Bicat and the stage management was by Snoo Wilson. Hare continued on as director when the play was presented at the Royal Court on 12 March 1970. John Russell Taylor reviewed the play favourably in The Second Wave, while Ronald Bryden in The Observer noted that “Brenton catches the peculiar cosy horror which surrounded our most sensational murder trial of the fifties”.[2] The play won Brenton the John Whiting Award for 1970.[3]

There have been revivals of the play in 1972 (Liverpool Playhouse, starring Colin Baker[4]); in 2003 starring Paul Dundee, Strath Martin and Paul Pirie [Dundee Rep][5]); and in 2008 (Edinburgh Fringe[6]).

The play was revived in 2009 in a co-production between Thrill Seeker and Cheekish. It was performed at the Lion and Unicorn from 27 October to 22 November.


The author's production note to the play states that “It is written to be played very slowly” and should last nearly an hour.[7] Portable Theatre was a touring company with limited resources and Christie in Love was written for these conditions. Brenton described plays like this as being for the poor theatre and written “to turn “bad theatrical conditions” to advantage”.[8]

See also


  1. Plays for the Poor Theatre by Howard Brenton, Methuen, 1980 ISBN 0-413-47080-6
  2. Brenton: Plays One Methuen 1986 ISBN 978-0-413-40430-5
  3. "Cambridge Guide to the Theatre" Retrieved on 6 October 2009
  4. "Colin Baker Online" Retrieved on 5 October 2009
  5. "The Scotsman" Retrieved on 5 October 2009
  6. "Edinburgh Festival Guide" Retrieved on 5 October 2009
  7. Plays for the Poor Theatre by Howard Brenton, Methuen, 1980 p.26 ISBN 0-413-47080-6
  8. Plays for the Poor Theatre by Howard Brenton, Methuen, 1980 p.6 ISBN 0-413-47080-6
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