London is in chaos. Terrorists bomb morning commuters on their way to work. Death and destruction abound. Outside Tavistock Square, a New Zealand doctor boards a double-decker bus that has exploded, and saves a number of lives. The media hail her as a national hero – a bright upstanding woman with everything going for her. Yet, two weeks later, the woman is dead and her reputation is in tatters. ‘The 53rd Victim’ of the London bombings. Hero to victim in just ten days? How does such a fall from grace occur so quickly? Because Rachel Brooke Taylor was no doctor, and the subsequent enquiry into her act of heroism would unravel a fantastical life filled with self delusion and deceit.
I love this play. It’s won a few awards and been finalist. Yet strangely it is still awaiting a professional production. It’s been programmed three times in the Wellington International Festival of the Arts and fallen over all three times. Boo. So if anyone out there wants to programme The 53rd Victim it would make me very happy! (Fun fact. I was in London during the bombings and got tangled up in them. In the chaos I ended up wondering into Tavistock Square, only a few hundred metres away from the bus).