1950s England, especially the North , was a gloomy place. Smoke poured from factory chimneys rising into leaden skies; grim rows of terraced houses went unrepaired and life was tough. Entertainment was limited to the local pub, cinema or dance hall and not many people had TV sets so when the circus came to town it was usually a big deal.
For some, the arrival of the circus was an event they would never forget, but for very different reasons.
The performer begins by explaining how a spate of murders occurred during the 1950s in the North West of England. The murders were particularly gruesome and several eyewitnesses recall seeing a figure with a distinctive, creepy white face in the vicinity of the murder scene.
Shortly after, a circus performer by the name of Alfie Wilson was convicted of murder and hanged at Strangeways Prison and many thought the reign of the Whiteface killer was over, or so they hoped. Unfortunately they were wrong and when the body of a young woman was found with traces of white greasepaint on her clothing the police realised the wrong man had been hanged.
At this point the performer introduces an old tobacco tin stating that it contains some personal items, which belonged to a circus performer. The performer asks for the help of an audience member and explains how the owner of the tin was one of several clowns that travelled with Gandolf Brothers Circus throughout the North of England during the 1950s.
The performer opens the tin and removes several items, one of which is an old circus handbill and casually shows it to the audience. Then remarks that it’s what was found written on the back of the handbill that is truly chilling. The performer then proceeds to read out the handwritten note on the reverse of the handbill.
The note is a confession from the real Whiteface and ends with a challenge to find the killer. The performer draws the audience’s attention to the other contents of the tin including an old stained glove and a key. The performer requests that the audience member puts on the glove and holds the key to see if they can make a connection with the killer and identify them. The audience member is then able to identify the real Whiteface killer in the most disconcerting of ways.
This is a simple, but highly effective routine using authentic looking props that can be played out in five minutes or, with some suitable storytelling, can be played for much longer if you wish.
The effect plays on a fear of clowns (coulrophobia), which many people find unsettling. It’s a tale of treachery and murder that enlists the help of the spectator to connect with the real Whiteface killer.
The props have been carefully reproduced and aged to resemble actual items that would have been around in the 1950s and 1960s.
The kit includes the following:
- 5 beautiful stage size prints of the clowns
- 5 smaller size prints (for walk-around performances)
- Authentic vintage tobacco tin*
- Whiteface killer’s glove
- Aged key and fob
- Aged circus handbill
- Aged vintage greasepaint (replica)
- 5 photograph stands
- Full instructions
- Presentation box
*Please note: tobacco tin may differ from that in the photos and are subject to availability.
Availability and backorders
Please note: If an item is not showing any stock it may still be available for backorder. If this product is available for backorder, please allow 6 weeks from the date you place your order for the product to be shipped.