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Doctor Thomas Neill Cream (Mystery at McGill)

Doctor Thomas Neill Cream (Mystery at McGill)
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: David Fennario
Publisher: Talonbooks
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 126
Pub. Date: 1993
ISBN-10: 0889223327
ISBN-13: 9780889223325
Cast Size: 4 women, 6 men

About the Play:

Doctor Thomas Neill Cream is a full-length drama by David Fennario. In 1876, Canadian Thomas Neill Cream graduated from McGill's faculty of medicine. Cream was a backstreet abortionist and managed an exclusive brothel called The Elite Club. His notorious reputation eventually forced him to flee Canada for London. He was hanged in Britain in 1892 for the murder of four prostitutes. As the gallows trapdoors fell, he cried out, "I am Jack the..."

Doctor Thomas Neill Cream is the Canadian entry in the great Jack the Ripper mystery. Thomas Neill Cream, a McGill-trained doctor who was hanged in Britain in 1892 for poisoning prostitutes, is the university's dark and dirty secret – a thief, a blackmailer and a backstreet abortionist. As the tale unfolds, it mixes fact and speculation with its cast of unlikely characters: khaki-covered union organizers – the good guys; five white-faced zombies representing such illustrious Founding Fathers of Confederation and distinguished members of the McGill fraternity as Sir Wilfred Laurier, Sir Hugh Allan, Sir William Osler, Lord Dufferin, and Lord Strathcona – the victors implicated in murder, blackmail and conspiracies of silence; and their young prostitutes – the victims. Intended as a cultural exorcism, playwright David Fennario charges with murder the capitalists who are now paraded through Canadian history books as nation-builders. Past evil is paralleled in the present.

Doctor Thomas Neill Cream premiered in 1988 at the Theatre Centre in Toronto and was nominated the annual Arthur Ellis awards honouring Canada's crime writers.

Cast: 4 women, 6 men

What people say:

"Fennario's in-your-face irreverence [is] ferociously funny." — University of Toronto Quarterly

About the Playwright:

David Fennario is an anglophone playwright and a novelist born David Wiper in Montréal. He grew up and still lives in the working class district of Verdun-Pointe St. Charles, and zoomed from obscurity to national fame in 1979 with his play Balconville. His pen name, given to him by a girlfriend, was part of a Bob Dylan song, Pretty Peggy-O. He worked in a number of small jobs before he enrolled in Dawson College. With his teachers encouragement, he developed and fine tuned his creative writing skills. He was the first writer-in-residence at Montréal's Centaur Theatre, has won the Chalmers award twice, and received the Prix Pauline Julien from the United Steelworkers' Union.

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