The Ghost Train
CHRISTOPHER SMITH Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich
What a hoot! What a scream! But in this evergreen comedy thriller by the much-loved Arnold Ridley, the hooting comes from way up a mysterious Cornish branch line, and though the audience screams with laughter, the cast have other reasons.
It fairly makes your flesh creep, and tension is artfully stretched to make the nerves go ping. Noises off are part of the plot as we wait.
Director Judi Daykin strikes the right balance in a play that is rather dated, but nostalgia is part of the charm, in construction as well as detail.
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The romance of steam locomotives is coupled with subversive schemes and with situations neatly designed to bring out all the feelings of a range of characters.
The girls tremble and flutter their egos most attractively, More varied, the men appear more in command, so when they crumple, things must be getting bad.
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The audience happily embarks for a mystery tour, knowing what sort of thing to expect, but never quite guessing how it can possibly all come together. Two hours do not seem a minute too long.