Unauthorised History


The Killing20100817

By Michael Butt.

In May 1593, the playwright Christopher Marlowe was killed.

Apparently, it was because of an argument over a bill.

Michael Butt's innovative drama dons the cloak of documentary to re-examine the unsolved case.



Paul Rhys

Thomas Walsingham.

Blake Ritson

Thomas Kyd.

Harry Lloyd

Robert Poley.

Burn Gorman

Lord Cecil.

Tim McMullan

Mrs Bull.

Christine Kavanagh

Ingram Frizer.

Tony Bell

Richard Baines.

Sam Dale

Cambridge Porter.

Sean Baker

Drew Woodleff.

Lloyd Thomas

Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko.

The Killing by Michael Butt.

Our drama dons the cloak of documentary to get into the heart of the Elizabethan plot.

The story is told through first-hand testimonies and interviews.

Through the eyes of the witnesses, we explore the anatomy of a killing - that of Christopher Marlowe, in May 1593.

Our story's focus is on the underside of Elizabethan politics, not the glittering propagandist surface.

It's a play about Marlowe, but Marlowe is never in it.

The Story

The scene is Deptford on 30th May 1593.

Four gentlemen enter a tavern.

They order lunch, take a room above the public bar, and ask for privacy.

The afternoon passes uneventfully: every now and then drinks are called for, but otherwise the landlady hears almost nothing, bar the creaking of floorboards, from the company upstairs.

On the surface there is nothing remarkable about any of this, that is until the eighth hour passes.

As the last stages of sunlight are reflected across the Thames, the hush is pierced - a cry is heard, the door thrown open, a man is dead.

The official story was that a fight resulted after an argument regarding the bill.

But just scratch the surface of this meeting at Deptford and you find yourself in the company of sharks and spies.

They all dealt in the perennial currency of that day: bargains, tricks, betrayals, lies.

Their paths intersect, part, and join again.

It is no surprise to find them together in Deptford.

The puzzling thing is the presence of the fourth man.

What was their business with Christopher Marlowe?

An unsolved murder case never ages.

Our narrator opens the play whilst crouching next to the dead body, which is now growing cold.

Over the next 45 minutes he speaks to the people who knew Marlowe and enters a world of half-truths and outright lies, as he tries to elicit answers that will finally lead to the truth.

The Cast

A fantastic cast of top British talent.

Paul Rhys (Luther, Being Human) plays the investigating Narrator.

Blake Ritson (Emma, The Romantics) is the literary patron Thomas Walsingham; Burn Gorman (Torchwood, Bleak House) is the spy Robert Poley; Harry Lloyd (Robin Hood, The Devil's Whore, Doctor Who) is the playwright Thomas Kyd.

The Writer

Michael Butt is a Sony-award winning writer who has a great variety of dramatisations and originations to his name.

Recent radio plays include; Albert Speer's Walk Around The World, Filthy Rich, Chronicles of Ait, Looking for Dad, The Babington Plot and A Dance To The Music Of Time.

Michael Butt's play explores the mysterious events surrounding Christopher Marlowe's death