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Popular Victorian murder melodrama to be staged in St John’s Theatre

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Cast members from the Memory Lane Theatre in Lixnaw pictured in costume for their upcoming play 'Murder in the Red Barn' which will be staged at St John's Theatre in Listowel for two nights next week.

Cast members from the Memory Lane Theatre in Lixnaw pictured in costume for their upcoming play 'Murder in the Red Barn' which will be staged at St John's Theatre in Listowel for two nights next week.

Cast members from the Memory Lane Theatre in Lixnaw pictured in costume for their upcoming play 'Murder in the Red Barn' which will be staged at St John's Theatre in Listowel for two nights next week.

Cast members from the Memory Lane Theatre in Lixnaw pictured in costume for their upcoming play 'Murder in the Red Barn' which will be staged at St John's Theatre in Listowel for two nights next week.

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Cast members from the Memory Lane Theatre in Lixnaw pictured in costume for their upcoming play 'Murder in the Red Barn' which will be staged at St John's Theatre in Listowel for two nights next week.

kerryman

There is a great night of entertainment in-store at St John’s Theatre in Listowel next week on Tuesday, August 16 and Wednesday, August 17 when the talented cast from the Memory Lane Theatre in Lixnaw will be treading the boards with their hugely popular production of the Victorian melodrama, ‘Murder in the Red Barn’.

The play is based on the true story of the 1827 murder of Maria Martin who was shot dead by her lover, William Corder at the Red Barn, a local landmark in Polstead, Suffolk England.

It’s very much a case of ‘back by popular demand’ after the play enjoyed a hugely successful 10-night run in Lixnaw at the end of June and speaking to The Kerryman this week, the play's director, Padraig Dennehy, said that there is an appetite locally for their unique type of play.

"The play is an old Victorian melodrama which was hugely popular back in the last century and right up until the 1950's. It was done by the 'fit ups' or the travelling theatre companies that were family run. Even theatre people are intrigued by it because none of them have ever actually done Victorian melodrama themselves or seen it performed,” said Padraig.

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"We had a huge run in Lixnaw with the play a few weeks ago. We had it on for 10 nights and it was hugely successful. A lot of people missed out on the chance to see it and so, with these two extra nights in St John's Theatre next week, we want to give people the opportunity to see it because it's very, very rare that a Victorian melodrama like this gets staged nowadays,” he continued.

There a few similarities to Shakespearean drama in the play, most notably the villain's soliloquy, as Padraig elaborated on.

"We, the audience, know from early on that he murders her because in Victorian melodramas, the villain speaks his mind to the audience so we see what he's thinking. We see the two sides to the character, we see him speaking his mind directly to the audience and then we see his false personality on show when he's interacting with other characters,” he said.

There's a huge appetite for this play locally. We couldn't accommodate everyone in our first in Lixnaw a few weeks back so we're delighted to be back by popular demand for two more nights,” he finished.

Tickets are available to buy for the two shows in St John’s Theatre next week here:  https://stjohnstheatre.ticketsolve.com/ticketbooth/shows/1173630232


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