The Ghost Train

Ferndown Drama  The Barrington Centre & Theatre, Ferndown  Lloyd Perry 24 April 2024


The Barrington Theatre in Ferndown was the venue for Ferndown Drama’s production of the classic comedy thriller The Ghost Train by Arnold Ridley.

This is a thriller play in two acts inspired by Arnold Ridley (of Dad’s Army fame in his later years) who spent a night in a very small railway station in Somerset waiting for a train connection to go to Bath to see his then-girlfriend.

The play is based in the run-down Fal Vale station in Cornwall where a selection of different people are stranded after a passenger pulls the communication cord to stop the train. As the wind and rain rattle the station, the ’story’ of the Ghost Train is embellished with vigour by the Station master, Saul Hodgkin, encouraging the passengers to leave the station for the night so he can go home. But all is not as it seems!

There were nice performances from Katie Walker as Peggy Murdock who supported David McGouran as Charles Murdock well. There had been a lot of time spent on the set and lighting which was both good and added to the atmosphere. Costumes throughout the cast were also good. The cast did well to cope when a clock from the set, fell and smashed all over the floor just before the interval, all this did was add to the overall atmosphere as I do not think it was planned!

Opening night is often hampered by first-night nerves amongst the cast, with a few needed prompts and a hint of lack of confidence as the tension builds during the second act. There also seemed to be some minor niggles with the set, with doors opening and closing at the wrong times which then led to the set wobbling during the quick entrances and exits. It was also a shame the door locking, which is so important to the play had to be mimed throughout. However, the play just about stands the test of time and still has a message for audiences in 2024, over 90 years after it was first staged.

I’m sure as the run goes on, the confidence builds so that the audiences can feel more of the tension and storytelling that The Ghost Train relies upon.

The production of The Ghost Train runs at The Barrington Theatre, Ferndown until the 27th April 2024 with a matinee performance on the 27th April. Tickets are still available.