Springheel’d Jack and the Red Barn murder

Episode 2 of Wireless Theatre’s The Legend of Springheel’d Jack has just been released and while I’m not in this one, it’s still worth talking about because it’s a great, exciting, ambitious show that’s well worth your time. You can find it on Wireless’s website here, and membership costs as little as £3, which is great value for all that content .

Springheel’d was a great series to be involved with. Having devoured the first series and feeling incredibly jealous of all those actors, it was great to be asked to take part. It gave me a chance to work with Neil Foster again, who I’d worked with on The St. Valentine’s Day Murder, were he had fun stealing all the scenes he was in. Our characters, Thackery and Makepeace, were bad Victorian actors.  Playing a ham actor is always good fun as it gives you a licence to feast, if only a little, on the scenery. Only being an audio show, that scenery is in your ears.

A great fact I didn’t know at the time was passed to me by one of the writers, Gareth Parker. The script excerpts that Neil and I were performing were from a genuine Victorian melodrama, The Murder in the Red Barn, itself based on an actual crime – the murder of Maria Marten in Suffolk in 1827. The play proved popular and versions of it were still being performed into the 20th century, with a film version being released in 1935. It’s a fact that certainly adds a nice touch of authentic Victoriana to the Springheel saga.

If you want to know more about the actual crime, there’s a Wikipedia page here, and you can find some information about the play on The Crushed Tragedian, a blog about 19th Century theatre here.