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Murder mystery comes to Queen’s Theatre stage

PUBLISHED: 16:33 02 November 2010

Talking scarecrows in The Mysterie of Maria Marten and the Murder in the Red Barn at The Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch. Photo by Nobby Clark.

Talking scarecrows in The Mysterie of Maria Marten and the Murder in the Red Barn at The Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch. Photo by Nobby Clark.

©Nobby Clark; +44(0)7941-515770; +44(0)20-7924-0302

IF YOU’RE a fan of murder mystery novels, TV dramas and movies then The Mysterie of Maria Marten and the Murder in the Red Barn stageshow is another you can add to that collection.

Maria Marten torn between right and wrong in The Mysterie of Maria Marten and the Murder in the Red Barn at The Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch. Photo by Nobby Clark.

The comedy thriller, perfectly timed to launch at The Queen’s Theatre on the back of Halloween, is based on the real-life murder of young Maria Marten in the small village of Polstead on the Essex and Suffolk borders back in 1827.

The true and notorious tale, now a legend, and the very public trial, murder conviction and execution of William Corder which followed continued to keep tongues wagging and rumours spreading as to possible hidden truths behind the tragedy for years after.

Chris Bond’s interpretation of some of those ideas has been brought to life with a twist to create an entertaining and quirky story on stage which keeps the audience guessing right to the end.

The mystifying drama combines an intertwined plot of corruption, blackmail, murder most horrid, redemption, deceit and lust balanced with a generous helping of humour for good measure.

Balance the intense murder mystery with raunchy references, a ghost doing charades, ‘sheepish’ audience participation, and a chorus of scarecrows who make cheeky remarks and even run off with the set, and you have all the elements to produce a witty mix of hilarity and drama.

Dashing Squire and ladies’ man William Corder is determined to seduce young peasant girl Maria Marten. But her temptation to join him for a roll around in the hay leads to a fate not so fine.

When Maria disappears, Corder is accused of her murder. But is he really the villain?

An unexpected fire, two other mysterious deaths and a Gypsy who claims to know everyone’s fortune thicken the plot.

Will buried secrets behind the tragedies go untold? It seems that way - until Lady Augusta Holmes, the eccentric know-it-all sleuth arrives in town to discover the truth. The show brings together powerful acting and impressive musicianship from the Hornchurch theatre’s resident company Cut to the Chase and is complimented by the all-important spooky sound and lighting effects (necessary for any murder-based tale) to create the perfect atmosphere for a comedy thriller.

Audiences can indulge in the suspense, spooks and laughter until November 20. To book tickets, costing £14 to £23 call the box office on 01708 443333 or visit


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