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Published on Feb 7, 2017
'Mad Martins' depicts the extraordinary lives and times of the notorious Martin brothers, William, Jonathan and John, who were born in the late Eighteenth Century in the South Tyne area of Northumberland.
Eldest brother, William was the self-styled ‘Natural Philosopher and Philosophical Conqueror of All Nations’, a doggerel poet, pamphleteer, engraver and inventor. Like his younger brothers, he aspired to be ‘Renaissance Man’ and aimed for the ‘defeat of learned humbugs’.
Jonathan Martin has gone down in history as ‘the notorious incendiary’ of York Minster. Frequent fits of rage against the clergy, including a plot to assassinate the Bishop of Oxford led to his committal to several lunatic asylums, from which he escaped twice before setting fire to York Minster in 1829, for which he was again committed to bedlam, where he later died.
Youngest brother, John, the eminent painter, engraver, town-planner and host, was, like his brother William, an 'all-rounder', devising sewage schemes for London, along with a number of other inventions but is most famous for his epic New Romantic paintings of Biblical scenes. One of these, 'Pandemonium', based on Milton's 'End Of The World', sold in 2003 for a record £1.65 million.
The story of the Martins is brought epically to life through a a two-and-half-hour performance in three separate acts, featuring an eclectic mix of wide-ranging and genre-busting songs, poems and narrative vignettes delivered with passion and commitment in a unique style.
Mad Martins has been a long time in the making but now, after many stops and starts and ups and downs along the way, the time finally seems right to release it on the world…
Mad Martins is to be released by Whippet Records as an epic 50-track triple CD presented as a lavishly packaged deluxe book containing lyrics to all the songs, poems and spoken word pieces, with additional inter-linking text and many beautiful images, including paintings, engravings, sketches and illustrations, further enhancing the story.
Mad Martins is also planned to be performed as a live show, combining songs, music, poetry and theatre, and featuring specially-made period costumes, props, accompanied by a pit orchestra of eclectic musicians, amid a backdrop of stunning images, all of which will contribute towards bringing the whole story to life.