THE story of Ruth Ellis ­— the last woman to be hanged in Britain in 1955 ­— will be explored by the Apollo Theatre in Newport during a seven-show run.

The Thrill of Love, originally a book by award-winning writer Amanda Whittington, retells the story of Ruth Ellis ­— shedding new light on the events that unfolded in the build-up to her execution.

The play, which will be staged by the resident company from February 14 to 22, combines the language of film noir with the unmistakeable voice of Billie Holiday, a jazz singer who was at the peak of her powers during this time.

It is 65 years since Ruth shot her lover outside a London pub.

The murder caused a sensation, making headline news as details of her trial and private life were disclosed during the summer of 1955.

The case caused such controversy that a public outcry led to a change in the law, which eventually brought the end of the death penalty in Britain.

The theatre has advised patrons that the production involves the use of a smoke machine and flashing lights, as well as on-stage smoking.

Tickets are available via the Apollo Theatre website or box office, or by calling 210010.