Illustrated press cutting of Maria Marten

Illustrated press cutting of Maria Marten

This article in The Sketch celebrates the 1952 Christmas show at the Arts Theatre, Maria Marten or The Murder in the Old Red Barn. This production by Alec Clunes (father to actor Martin) of the Victorian melodrama based on the true story of the murder of Maria Marten in 1827 entered thoroughly into the spirit of the previous century. The actors performed in the full-blown style required by the material, and Punch noted that even the programme was 'a fine 'period' document'. Audiences enjoyed the comic effect of the parody but, nonetheless, hissed the diabolical villain with 'heartfelt rebuke'. The reviews recommended that 'if you have never seen a villain slink, or heard him exclaim 'Curse the girl' ... go at once to the Arts and look at Mark Dignam: he invites your hisses'.

You can see him in these pictures in full moustache-twirling flow. The Sketch also got into the spirit, puffing off the photo-spread as being 'perpetrated pictorially' by 'Mr Houston Rogers' photographic machine'.