Society’s appetite for all things true crime has grown exponentially in recent years, with a sharp rise in the amount of true crime media readily available, from podcasts to documentaries, to drama series, and now former detective David Swindle brings us a show which is certain to whet the appetite of true crime fans. But throughout, he reminds us all that we must not forget the victims.

Swindle worked as a Senior Detective in Scotland for over 34 years, working on some of the most high-profile investigations. During his tenure, he investigated serial killer Peter Tobin, forming the ground-breaking Operation Anagram which uncovered more of Tobin’s crimes. The Makings of a Murderer had its West End premiere last night, and is now embarking on a 100+ date tour of the UK. This show allows the audience to spend an evening learning more about Swindle’s career, and serial killers in general.

The stage is set with a large screen at the back, where a slide show is projected, giving Swindle a visual aid when talking to the audience. Some videos are featured, which helps cement the points he makes, and allows us more of an insight into the people being discussed. Around the screen is a desk, a phone, and other items of furniture, with the stage resembling a detective’s office.

Act One encompasses many famous cases in UK history, from Harold Shipman, Fred and Rose West, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, to Jack the Ripper. Swindle speaks with confidence, clearly knowledgeable on this topic, he speaks of early warning signs displayed by serial killers, and about mistakes made by the authorities – particularly in the Fred and Rose West case.

Act Two is more focused on Peter Tobin and the investigation. He could have delved slightly deeper into the investigation and discussed more about his own involvement and experiences, which would have made the second Act feel more personal. The show lost its good pacing toward the end of Act Two and began to drag slightly, and the end of the show could be more fleshed out.

The show incorporates the opinions of a forensic scientist that worked with Swindle, displaying some videos of her interviews discussing the case, which added a different perspective and layer. I do feel a psychological perspective would have further elevated the show, allowing some insight into Tobin’s mind.

Swindle is charismatic and engaging, I could listen to him speak for hours, he’s incredibly knowledgeable and commands the stage. He ensures the show is peppered with jokes, allowing some moments of light throughout the darkness, and his delivery of these has a casual air to it, they feel improvised, which gives the show a relaxed feel, as though we are in conversation with a good friend. This show is refreshing in that Swindle ensures this is not the watered down, easily consumable, and sometimes sensationalist retellings of true crime we see on the TV – he reminds us of the victims and families, and although these stories should be told, we should not forget the people personally affected.

The Makings of a Murderer is a show that true crime fanatics cannot miss, in fact, it would be a crime to miss it (sorry, that was terrible).

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Makings of a Murderer is now on a UK tour with over 100 stops! You can find out more about the show, and where it is off to – here!

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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