We know Greg Wohead is not Ted Bundy. We know that he stumbled upon Ted Bundy’s confession tapes by accident on YouTube and couldn’t stop listening. We know that he decided to make a show about them. Beyond that, it all gets very blurry.

Greg Wohead’s disarmingly clever The Ted Bundy Project uses the intersect between attraction and repulsion to ask searching questions about our fascination with the darkest aspects of the human condition. Ted Bundy was a notorious American serial killer, rapist and necrophile who confessed to killing around 30 young women between 1974 and 1978. Regarded by most as a handsome and charismatic man, Bundy used these traits to win his victims’ trust. The same could well be said of Wohead.

Dressed in white shorts, t-shirt and plimsolls, he’s a picture of innocence. “Hello!” he says, off the cuff, by way of introduction,”Thank you for coming”. But when this seemingly spontaneous introduction is repeated word-for-word later in the show, it’s clear that Wohead is more assuming than first thought. Appearances, it seems, can be deceiving.

The deception begins before we enter the theatre. On a door outside a sign reads: “Contains extreme images and graphic, violent subject matter”. But while the subject matter of The Ted Bundy Project is undoubtedly violent, there are no extreme images so to speak. Not that we can see anyway.

Instead of showing, Wohead’s interest lies mainly in telling. He tells us about Bundy – who he was, what he did – before donning a Walkman and a pair of headphones and speaking some of the confession tapes verbatim. He uses a technique similar to that of Alecky Blythe, where the interviews are played through headphones, exactly as spoken, and then mimicked in performance. No need for blood capsules here, Wohead relies on our imaginations to conjure up the intricacies of the testimony. But given that the confession tapes are readily available on YouTube, what do you get from The Ted Bundy Project that you can’t get from a few minutes sat in front of your laptop?

Wohead weaves the verbatim material of the confession tapes with two loosely autobiographical strands – one concerning a story from his childhood, the other about his response to reaction films in which people film their response to watching horrific videos on the internet. The video in question is dubbed ‘1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick’ and shows a man stabbing a naked and bound victim with an ice pick, and then dismembering the body. Wohead describes the content of the video in the same graphic detail as the Bundy confessions, but whereas the Walkman and headphone kept that material at arm’s length, this feels very much within touching distance. Even more so when he starts up the film itself.

It’s a moment of heart-in-gob terror to rival any horror movie, but when the shock subsides, a morbid curiosity takes over, that feeling of wanting to look at something dark even though you know you shouldn’t. In doing so, Wohead asks his audience to unravel the knotty moral implications of those feelings and deeply consider what is so enduringly fascinating about violence.

What we know is that I didn’t go home and watch it. What we don’t know is how many people did.


The Ted Bundy Project played at the Ovalhouse.