The Titfield Thunderbolt at Studio Theatre Salisbury

prompt Titfield1COLIN Hayman’s innovative production of the 1950s classic The Titfield Thunderbolt is taking over the Studio Theatre in Ashley Road, Salisbury until 17th May.

Not only has Colin designed a set that takes in a station, a bar and a vicarage, but even the illustrious steam train makes an appearance, just on time!

Philip Goulding, brother of the theatre company’s chairman, has adapted TEB Clarke’s original film script, making a few judicious changes, and the versatile Studio Theatre company has (in the current parlance) “embraced” the challenge with vigour and humour.

The audience is roped in as train (and bus) travellers, as Lady Chesterford and the Rev Sam Weech run their independent train in competition with the clapped out old coach offered by Vernon Crump as an alternative mode of transport.

Young Harry Crump woos Joan Weech, Mr Valentine drinks for England and both Mr Clegg and Mr Ruddock represent authority in quite hilariously recognisable ways.

As always with Studio Theatre productions, enormous care is taken with period props, proper accents and costume, transporting the audience right into the time when the play is set.

It’s hard to imagine that a professional company could do it better.

Outstanding in the terrific cast are Lesley Bates as Lady C. Her timing is as exemplary as her marvellously subtle facial expressions, David Taylor is everyone’s idea of a rural wide boy as Crump snr, with Stew Taylor (no relation) as his wickedly funny son Harry (and moonlighting as Sgt Wilson).

Roger Street commandeers the stage as the wealthy soak Mr Valentine, and Anthony von Roretz affects some memorably distinguishable tics as the government representative and the railway inspector.

Alistair Faulkner is a totally believable vicar with Emma Young as his plucky niece.

It’s a funny, touching piece of nostalgia about post war Britain, but it also nudges the realisation that nothing has changed much, and that central government and privatised public services still regard the country as an awkward and expensive irrelevance.

Most of the tickets for this show are sold, but try to get on board if you can.


Posted in Reviews on .