A new one-man play about notorious British serial killer Harold Shipman, written by a former patient and relative of one of his victims, receives its world premiere this month in London. Time to get booking!
The Quality of Mercy, written and performed by Edwin Flay, premieres in a strictly limited season at London’s Courtyard Theatre, where it runs from 27 September to 8 October 2022.
From his cell in the early hours of the morning, Harold Shipman breaks his silence to record a confessional tape, laying down his version of events as he prepares to take one last life.
Performer and playwright Edwin Flay has a unique perspective on the subject matter, as a former patient of Shipman’s from childhood. His family lived in Hyde throughout the 1980s and 1990s and his grandmother, Renee Lacey, was one of Shipman’s victims, aged just 63.
In an effort to understand this senseless crime, Flay conducted extensive research into Shipman’s career, including a thorough examination of the Smith Report into Shipman’s history and motivations.
Among the records, he found the details of his own family’s evidence to the inquiry when Dame Smith reviewed Ms Lacey’s death, all of which directly informed the crafting of the play.
The Quality of Mercy is a piece of investigative theatre, exploring with unflinching candour the motives of Britain’s most prolific serial killer, and interrogating society’s attitudes towards death, justice and compassion.
The premiere production is directed by Bernie C Byrnes, with lighting design and production management by Adam Bottomley, sound design by Kirsty Gillmore, videography by Neil Monaghan and stage management by Becky Brown. It’s produced by Sarah Lawrie for Nailed Productions, with Kat Rogers as associate producer.
One of the country’s most prolific killers
Harold Frederick Shipman was an English GP and one of the most prolific serial killers in modern history. On 31 January 2000, he was found guilty of the murders of 15 patients under his care. Sentenced to life imprisonment, he died by suicide, hanging himself in his cell at HM Prison Wakefield, West Yorkshire, on 13 January 2004.
The Shipman Inquiry, a two-year-long investigation of all deaths certified by Shipman, chaired by Dame Janet Smith, examined Shipman’s crimes. The inquiry identified that 80% of the doctor’s victims were elderly women. His youngest confirmed victim was a 41-year-old man, although suspicion arose that he had killed patients as young as four.
About Nailed Productions
Nailed Productions is a company run by Edwin Flay, producing films and theatre. The company started life as Nailed Films, a short film production company run by Flay and Neil Monaghan. After the completion and successful festival run of their first short film, AN UNKIND WORD, starring Robert Daws and Susan Penhaligon, they are now completing work on a second alongside THE QUALITY OF MERCY.
Becoming Harold. @EdwinFlay plays the infamous Dr Shipman in #QualityofMercyPlay which opens 27 September @CourtyardHoxton for a strictly limited two-week run. Directed by @BernieCByrnes and produced by @La_Lawrie for @NailedCreates #TrueCrime #NewWriting #WorldPremiere pic.twitter.com/UZ9Y9UL0om
— THE QUALITY OF MERCY @CourtyardHoxton (@NailedCreates) September 14, 2022
About Edwin Flay
Writer and performer Edwin Flay studied Film & Drama at The University of Reading, graduating in 1998, and now works as an actor, writer and producer. Television credits include OUTLANDER (Amazon Prime), THE SUFFRAGETTES (BBC), BOOMERS (BBC) and TO WAR! (BBC).
Film credits include THE CARROT (Another Footnote Ltd), SERVANTS’ QUARTERS (Aviary Films), CROWHURST (Splash Page Media), REFUGEE (CTVC) and GRACE OF MONACO (Stone Angels). Theatre credits include RICHARD II (The Vaults), MOONLIGHT & MAGNOLIAS (English Theatre of Hamburg), A LA CARTE (Southwark Playhouse), THE TAILOR-MADE MAN (The White Bear), THE CRYSTAL EGG (The Vaults), THE BRIGHTON KILLERS (Brighton Fringe), and THE HOUSE (So & So Arts Club). In 2021, he made his Radio 4 debut in the legal drama BARRED (B7 Media).
Edwin wrote, produced and appeared in a short film called AN UNKIND WORD, which played to festivals worldwide, winning an Indie Spirit Award at Idyllwild and a Bronze Remi at Worldfest Houston. He has also written multiple feature screenplays. The Quality of Mercy is Edwin’s first stage play.
The Quality of Mercy runs from 27 September to 8 October 2022 at the Courtyard Theatre, Bowling Green Walk, 40 Pitfield Street, London N1 6EU, with Tuesday to Saturday performances at 7pm, Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets £16 (concessions £12). CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!