ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

revealed at the end is a hoot, something along the lines of a communist plot, and smuggling machine guns from the Soviet Union. Eric Beardsworth had the unenviable task of telling the people in the waiting room (and by extension, the audience) the ghost story on which the plot hinges. Eric was on fine form, never missing a beat in a long monologue. Susan Ellison played Julia Price. Susan certainly looked the part and was suitably spooked on her entrance. James Stovald, Gary Waugh and Gordon Ingleby were fine additions to the cast. As well as the set being a triumph, sound and lighting were also top notch. Richard I’Anson knows how to create a mood. The wind and rain howled around the audience. Lights, specially placed in the auditorium, flashed with the thunder and lightning. The train seemed to be rolling through the auditorium. Splendid stuff in such a small venue. Practical bumps in the night were also flawless, sudden knocks on doors and hatches slamming shut were all on cue making the audience jump more than once. Reading the programme notes it seemed that Covid, and general illness, disrupted the production. This wasn’t evident in the first half. It was more visible after the interval with the twists of the plot becoming slightly hard to follow. Costumes were very accurate and generally evoked the period. It is a very wordy play and perhaps there was occasionally towards the end a slight grasping for lines. But the wonderful thing about theatre is that the show must, and will go on, and even if the play seemed to derail once or twice, the cast was more than capable of getting it back on track. There’s an old saying, ‘An oldie but a goodie’: this was certainly true with The Ghost Train. Noel Coward once said something along the lines of ‘whatever you do, don’t bore the living hell out of it’ (talking about the audience). Well, we certainly weren’t bored, in fact, it was one of the most enjoyable evenings I’ve had at the theatre for a while. Thank you, John Mills, and thank you to the Little Theatre for having me again.