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The Ghost Train, Southwold

PUBLISHED: 11:11 16 July 2001 | UPDATED: 15:05 22 October 2010

Full speed ahead for The Ghost Train, this season's first excursion by Jill Freud & Company, at St Edmund's Hall, Southwold.

By CHRISTOPHER SMITH

Full speed ahead for The Ghost Train, this season's first excursion by Jill Freud & Company, at St Edmund's Hall, Southwold. We steam on with scarcely a halt. The connections are unlikely, the branches unpredictable, and the rigmarole is always threatening to come off the rails.

But never fear, playwright Arnold Ridley – Private Godfrey in Dad's Army – wasn't really an old buffer. He knew exactly how to make our blood run cold as he stoked up the furnace, hiding just enough behind a cloud of smoke and sparks to make us all want to see more clearly what he was driving at.

As always at Southwold, Maurice Rubens builds a set as firm as the Rock of Ages to contrast with the flimsiness of the comedy. But under the direction of Richard Frost a dozen crisply differentiating characters gel into a team dedicated to tapping our funny bones.

An elderly lady spends most the play as a sleeper. One couple is tinder, while another finds that tension bolsters a strained relationship, and before the end the monocled nincompoop shows that he, too, has his points.

A screech of laughter signals our panting arrival at the terminus.ris Smith


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