Story added: 5:00pm Wed Jul 30, 2014
Full steam ahead for thriller season
Monday 28th July, 2014 - Theatre Royal, Nottingham
By Sharon Hodkin
The Ghost Train steamed into Nottingham this week to launch another summer season of suspense at the Theatre Royal.
And the classic tale was the perfect start to the thriller season with plenty of shocks, twists and turns.
The story, by Arnold Ridley, is set in a remote railway station where a group of passengers are left stranded in the middle of the night after missing their connection.
Before he leaves them, the station- master, Saul Hodgkin (Adrian Lloyd-James) tells them the story of the ghost train — a spectral locomotive that thunders through the station recreating a tragic journey years ago that led to a crash and the loss of many lives.
It is said that anyone who sees the ghost train will die.
The passengers — newly-married couple Charles and Peggy (Alan Magor and Sarah Wynne Kordas) Richard and Elsie Winthrop (Jeremy-Lloyd Thomas and Jacqueline Gilbride) spinster Miss Bourne (Susan Earnshaw) and upper-class fool Teddie Deacon (Andrew Ryan) — have no choice but to wait and see if the train does indeed exist.
Their wait is disturbed by the sudden arrival of Julia (Angie Smith) a mad woman left deeply disturbed after seeing the train in the past.
She is followed by her brother Herbert (John Banks) and doctor John Sterling (Michael Sherwin) who desperately urge the bewildered and increasingly nervous group to leave the station before the train goes through.
There follows a stand-off between the various group members — split between those desperate to leave and those wanting to stay — plenty of bangs to test the audience’s nerves, and one final twist before the train’s secret is revealed.
The Ghost Train, directed by thriller season regular Nicholas Briggs, sees the return of a host of familiar faces in the main parts, joined by several newcomers who slot into the roles perfectly.
There is plenty of humour, especially from Earnshaw, Lloyd-James and Ryan, but the production is all about the suspense and there is plenty of that.
The Ghost Train was first performed in 1925 and time has not diminished its impact. I first saw it a few years ago and had forgotten what a thrilling ride it is.
Next week’s offering is its sequel, The Shadow Of The Ghost. It has a lot to live up to — SH.