Murder mystery brought to Peterborough pop-up theatre venue

The cast of Polstead.'Photo:  Mike Kwasniak
The cast of Polstead.'Photo: Mike Kwasniak

The mystery of the murder in the Red Barn is an East Anglian story that has rippled down the years.

Since Maria Marten was brutally killed by her lover William Corder back in 1827, numerous plays, books and films have been produced on this theme.

Now, Eastern Angles have produced a brand-new version of the story - Polstead - and will be performing the show at their pop-up venue at Serpentine Green Shopping Centre from July 18-21.

This lively, energetic and fascinating new play written by Beth Flintoff is called Polstead, the Suffolk village where the action takes place.

Director Hal Chambers, who directed the company’s recent show ‘The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart’, gives some background to the project.

“When there is a murder, the public often become fascinated and obsessed with the killer,” says Hal, “we desperately try and understand what drives a person to commit such a violent act. It can’t be denied that the circumstances of Maria Marten’s death were both tragic and bizarre. Polstead became infamous but Maria has remained unknown and elusive, as victims often do.

“At the beginning of the script our playwright, Beth Flintoff, writes in the stage directions that Maria’s friends ‘un-murder’ her. That is exactly what I want to do with this play. I want to bring Maria back to life and understand how a bright, young working- class woman could end up being killed by her lover.

“Beth’s stirring new take on the story re-examines Maria’s life and the dramatic events that led up to her murder, full of breathtaking highs and lows,” Hal continues. “With the #MeToo movement currently in the spotlight, Maria’s fate feels more relevant than ever. Beth has done an amazing job conjuring an ensemble of memorable, dynamic female characters and their fight against the abusive men that tried to silence them.”

The story may be dark, but Eastern Angles’ staging of this new play with joyous folk music, exhilarating movement sequences and tender depictions of female friendship, will leave audiences feeling uplifted and entertained.

“Our wonderful composer, Luke Potter, perfectly evokes the rural folk grounding of Polstead, and hearing the six women actors sing together every day in rehearsals has been an absolute privilege. Their passion for the story shines through creating an irresistible spirit.”

Polstead will be staged at The Undercroft from Wednesday 18th – Saturday 21st July. For tickets visit: www.easternangles.co.uk 01473 211498