Trafalgar Studios – Killer Joe

Nudity at the theatre, yes or no?

I’ve heard so many opposing ideas about this topic, as we see more and more nudity in contemporary plays. For some it is unnatural, for others it’s absolutely natural. But I think most of them agree on one thing – it does feel awkward, a little bit, when you are in the audience. I’ve seen actors on stage doing whole monologue, fully naked, facing the audience, that made me wonder why nudity was necessary in that particular moment, but it was just my modest opinion.



Trafalgar Studios is in the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) covered in my Lyceum Theatre post.

Trafalgar Studios, formerly the Whitehall Theatre, first opened in 1930. The theatre became famous for presenting modern comedies up until the Second World War. During the war the Whitehall Theatre presented revues. After the war the theatre showed long-running farces, some of them televised by BBC. The theatre closed for refurbishment between 1982 and 1986. It reopened with revivals of some classical plays and also presented contemporary pieces. Between 1997 and 1999, the theatre was converted into a television and radio studio. After it returned to the theatrical use Trafalgar Studios has presented short runs of revivals of classic plays and musicals.



The play is set in West Dallas, Texas. Young drug dealer and a junkie himself, Chris appears at his father’s house in the middle of the night. His father, Ansel lives with his wife, Sharla and his daughter, Chris’ sister, Dottie. Chris was thrown out of his mother, Adele’s house. Adele stole Chris’ money he was due to pay to his dealer. Chris tries to convince his father to hire a killer to murder Adele, in order to get her life insurance money ($50,000), of which Dottie is the sole beneficiary. Chris and Ansel make an arrangement with local detective, Joe, who is also a hitman, to kill Adele and as they have no money for prepayment they offer Dottie as a “retainer”, until they manage to get hold of the insurance money. Dottie is 20, but she is odd and childish; she often seems not to understand what’s going on around her, but she is smart enough to grasp the whole arrangement. Joe kills Adele. Chris and Ansel discover that the beneficiary for the life insurance is Adele’s boyfriend, Rex and not Dottie. Chris plans to run away with Dottie as he cannot pay either dealer or Joe. When the family returns from the funeral, they find Joe already waiting for them. Joe seems to have solved the whole case. Sharla knew about the life insurance from Rex as they were lovers and Rex lied about the beneficiary to Chris, so that Chris would arrange the murder and Rex and Sharla would run away with all the money. Joe declares that as they cannot pay him he will take Dottie and announces that they are getting married. Chris gets out a gun and they all get into a fight. Dottie seizes the gun and in hysteria he shoots Chris and Ansel, then she tells Joe that she is pregnant and as Joe moves closer to her, happy with the news, she moves her finger toward trigger again.



Killer Joe was written in 1993 by Tracy Letts. It premiered at the Next Theatre Lab, in Chicago. Killer Joe was transferred to the Traverse Theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and made it to West End in 1995. Trafalgar Studio production was directed by Simon Evans.

Director:         Simon Evans

Producers:      Trafalgar Entertainment, Emily Dobbs Production, Empire Street Productions

Casting:          Elie Bristow-Collyer

07986 607 075



Bought my ticket from ATG’s website. Trafalgar Studio 1 is quite an intimate theatre with just 380 seats. £55 for a side seat in the middle row, perfect view on the stage.


Running time is 2 hours 10 minutes.


The Theatre Rat

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