Georgian Bloodbath

19 November 11 words: Victoria Oldham
When he reached in and pulled out her heart, throwing it into the audience, more than one person blanched

The Galleries of Justice

One of the wonderful things about Nottingham is the variety of shows we have available. If you want musical theatre from Broadway, we’ve got it. If you want small, intimate concerts with a philharmonic, we have that too. We have one thing, though, you won’t find anywhere else in England: The Georgian Bloodbath at the Galleries of Justice, written and performed by Adam Nightingale.

The Galleries hold tours throughout the year so visitors can see the prison cells used for centuries and get a sense of Nottingham’s criminal past. Keeping to that theme, Adam delivers a night of lively history and gruesome fun.

After taking your seats on the wooden benches in the wide open and wonderfully historic Criminal Court, Adam welcomes you to his Lecture, where he will tell you a few stories of Nottingham’s gruesome 18th Century. Though I expected him to come out in costume, he was dressed more like … well, a professor giving a lecture.

Though parts of the show were a bit dry as Adam provided the background to the story he wanted to tell, the majority of it was entertaining and interesting enough to make you forget the hard seats under you. Adam provided anecdotes within the theme of “18th Century Darwin Awards” for stupidest death, allowing the audience to vote on who should receive the award, and a brief history of 3 banned books and the one most likely to get you thumped if you were found with it in your possession.

After the interval, (which is a bit too short for a proper cup of tea, though they let you bring it in with you) Adam went on to discuss the manner of punishment in the 18th century, with tales of hangings and eviscerations. On the table was a dummy with her belly slit open, and when he reached in and pulled out her heart, throwing it into the audience, more than one person blanched.

This isn’t a show for children, or for those not terribly interested in history. But if you’re an adult with an irreverent sense of humour and a penchant for the macabre, watch out for this show. It’s fun and interesting, and part of Nottingham’s wonderful cultural vibe.


Georgian Bloodbath was performed at The Galleries of Justice on Thursday 17 November 2011

Read our interview with Adam Nightingale