It was 50 years ago this July (31st) that a national treasure of a sitcom was born: Dad’s Army.
All of the players, pretty much, already had long established careers. One such actor was Arnold Ridley, who gave a beautifully understated performance as Private Godfrey. Throughout his life he served his country in two world wars, sustaining injury in the first one, and he acted in rep and wrote plays.
Arguably his most famous play (these days) is the comedy thriller The Ghost Train, which is trotted out as a staple by many an amateur society. And with good reason. It’s a great story, well written, and has twists, turns, crazy people and a first-time-drunk spinster. What’s not to love?
The story concerns a bunch of people who, due to the reckless actions of one, find themselves stranded in a railway station in the rural South West. It turns out that this particular station has a history… A haunted history!
The play is a treat for actors and audiences alike and has some really cracking roles to get your teeth into.
Brian Foley as the guard, Saul, gets his teeth and false beard thoroughly into his role and starts the play nicely. We then meet the stranded folk.
The couples, Richard and Elsie Winthrop (Tim Calvert and Lucy Dearlove) and newlyweds Charles and Peggy Murdock (John Sivewright and Dina Berlyn), all give creditable, lively, believable and well paced performances. They all are easy and comfortable to watch.
As our spinster, Miss Bourne, Jenny Wise is another lively watch, she has a lot of energy and gives a convincing drunk performance. “Drunk” can be easily overdone, but she nails it.
New to All Saints and back to acting after a ten year break (it says in the programme), Jon Cockeram is another burst of energy as the massively irritating, pain in the backside, Teddie Deakin. The laugh really started to grate on my teeth after a bit, which is completely the point. Good stuff.
More people join in, with Mark Richards and David Dellow as Dr Sterling and Herbert Price getting stuck into their roles. They bring along Herbert’s sister, Julia. In this role, Victoria Liechti is another burst of energy, her portrayal of Julia having a “Turn” (for “Turn” read “Going Completely Loopy”) completely fills the stage and the theatre with what is going on. Excellent.
A very nice cameo from Tony Edwards as Jackson rounds off the cast.
Director Phil Vivian has done well with this play. The movement and pace make for a really entertaining evening that does not disappoint.
Further performances on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th September, 7:30pm with a matinee on Saturday at 2:30pm.