In Whitechapel, in the year 1888, where a serial-murderer is at large, we meet Josephine Butler, campaigning for the better welfare of prostitutes, General Booth of the Salvation Army, Richard Mansfield the star actor, and Inspector Abberline, who is under pressure to track down the man the newspapers call 'the Ripper.' The main story, however, concerns two pairs of young lovers - prostitute Mary Kelly and Meriweather Sim, of the Salvation Army, and Detective Constable John Beck, assigned to the Ripper case, and Rosie Walker, a housemaid friend of Mary's.
When an East-End cobbler, Jack Pizer, is arrested as a Ripper suspect, everyone wants to know - have they got the right man?
The musical at the creation was criticised for its indeterminate style: is it a thriller? or a social commentary on prostitution? Or a satire about the media? a romance? or a black comedy? It was described as a mish-mash of intentions. The score included some reworked versions of established music hall songs, and with considerable doubling among the cast, the show was diffuse and sometimes confusing.
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