Jordan, Assembly Rooms

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The Independent Culture

Jordan grips from the first minute and doesn’t let go until the last. Standing on a blood-red set in a simple blue dress, Shirley Jones reveals how she comes to be standing in court, awaiting sentencing for killing her baby son.

Revived some 18 years after it first won plaudits at the Fringe, the true story, sensitively adapted by Anna Reynolds and Moira Buffini, has lost none of its harrowing power today.

We know from the start that Shirley has done something terrible; the sound of shattering glass and the sinister tale of Rumpelstiltskin act as menacing pointers. But before we relive her crime, we learn a little of Shirley’s life - a violent father, an abusive husband (whom she has to thank for the livid “grasser’s slash” scarring her cheek), prostitution and finally prison. It’s an ugly tale but there are moments of real beauty in the writing. As Shirley, Allie Croker is alternately child-like and helpless, flinty and determined. A class act.

To 30 Aug (0131 623 3030)

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