Amateur Reviewer: Jack the Ripper

Groupon inadvertently got me on to this tour by offering pretty cheap tickets to a slightly inferior company – when I checked with Tripadvisor it looked like an obvious choice to pay a couple of pounds extra for the 5-star-rated (17th out of 265 tours in London) Ripper Vision tour. And I knew fellow dweeb L would come along for a wee fright-night.

I greatly enjoyed the touch of the historical clothing and the vivacity with which we were whisked about the east end, but mostly I appreciated the depth of knowledge and enthusiasm of the tour-leader. It’s like having a history-criminology-psychology-drama major lead you around an already interesting area of London and expose its seedy (and bloody, gouged, de-organed) underbelly. I was a little unsure of the sidekick actor who came and went throughout at timed moments – while he cut a fabulous sad-drunk figure, and wretchedly added timely clues, it jarred slightly with me that he was in full character at all times, whereas the guide had an air of the 1880s but never postulated to be from that dark time except when his companion flitted over from a side street. I guess the leader couldn’t fully perpetrate the past or the Ripper Vision would rankle with those who cannot abide by anachronism outside of the steampunk fad.

The price is extremely reasonable for around 2 hours of entertainment, and I would absolutely recommend. My only slight drawbacks are that a smaller group would have afforded slightly better viewing/hearing. This also added to the issue of the ‘ripper vision’ projectors being harder to view than the held-up paper versions used before the sun set (low-tech won for me, tho other tripadvisor reviewers felt differently), but probably because of the group size again. The pictures (in either format) really did add a lot to the experience though, and I was especially impressed/horrified to view actual photographs from the post mortems of the victims. It made me feel that it’s not really a suitable tour for kids, but then the 6-ish child perched on his Dad’s shoulders seemed to be the most rapt and least squeemish of the group.

This is certainly a great way to see the neighbourhood, especially if you sneak in an Indian meal on the infamous Brick Lane (don’t take the first deal you’re offered!). Sometimes I think you need to have at least a moderate interest in a subject to do a tour, but in this case I’d say that even if you know nothing of the notorious murders, you’ll have a suspect in mind by the end.

Visited August 2012


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