The annual Classic Thriller Season at Nottingham Theatre Royal has become a highly popular feature, and Arnold Ridley’s The Ghost Train is as classic as they come. It opened the four-week season on Monday, to huge appreciation from the audience.
1920s melodrama can’t be taken entirely seriously, and there are more than a few laughs in Nick Briggs’s polished production for Chesterfield-based Tabs Productions.
It’s an ensemble piece, and the cast of eleven is a strong one, but a few performances stand out: Sarah Wynne Kordas’s naïve honeymooning bride; Andrew Ryan’s star comic turn as hooray henry Teddie Deacon in tweed plus-fours; the excellent Sue Earnshaw as elderly dragon Miss Bourne.
But the real stars of the production are the special effects. The dingy waiting room set with its dim windows, sulky fire and old posters is spooky enough; add in eerie lighting, including a train you’d swear really passed through, and David Gilbrook’s wonderful sound effects, and the cold shivers come even faster than the laughs.
The Ghost Train is a fun night out, well worth the drive to Nottingham. It gets the Thriller Season off to a first-rate start, and runs till Saturday, August 2.