Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Titfield Thunderbolt (theatre)

I'm excited to have a trip to a new-to-me Theatre Company in a new-to-me Theatre coming up in February! I'm going to see Seaford Little Theatre's production of The Titfield Thunderbolt, a nostalgic comedy based on the 1953 Ealing film of the same name. 2013 is the film's 60th anniversary and there is a DVD release to celebrate. I don't know how closely the two versions mirror each other though so you might want to hold off watching the DVD until after you've been to Seaford! The play was adapted in 1997 by playwright Philip Goulding and necessitates the theatre being turned into a fully functioning village railway station. Alan Lade has taken on the challenge of the set design and The Titfield Thunderbolt is directed by Margaret Kennedy.

The Titfield branch line is losing money and British Rail is intent on closing it down. The villagers decide to take charge and run it themselves. As well as convincing the railway authorities that they are competent they have to face problems with Vernon Crump (Mike Piller) and his competing bus service. The cast also includes Angie James, Roland Boorman, Jenny Humphries, Sue Shephard, Martin Adams, Andrea Lowe, Phil Armstrong and Lee Powney. To cap it all there is also a cameo stage debut for backstage boy David Heathcote.

Seaford Little Theatre, the company, has been in existence since 1945 and their home, The Little Theatre, was opened in 1957 after a concerted effort by members and local people to raise the funds. The company now put on four plays a year and have a 98-seat auditorium with a hearing loop and disabled facilities.

The Little Theatre, Fri 15th to Sat 23rd Feb, 19:45, £8.
Matinee, Sat 16th Feb, 14:30, £7.
Tickets available (from 25th Jan onwards) in person at Sussex Eyecare Ltd, 9 Broad Street, Seaford.

1 comment:

  1. It was lovely to catch up with old friends at Seaford Little Theatre yesterday evening. The Titfield Thunderbolt is very much a play about the importance of community and there was a strong sense of togetherness throughout the performance.

    For me, the star of the show was Alan Lade’s colourful set which not only recreated the village station onstage, but also cleverly allowed the audience to ‘travel’ on both the train and Vernon Crump’s bus. Scene changes were slick and I liked the effective uses of recorded sound. The gentle tale was well-acted with the grand Lady Chesterford (Angie James) and the lush Mr Valentine (Mike Piller) being particularly memorable performances. The Vicar’s (Roland Boorman) delighted anticipation of train driving was adorable.

    I love the Little Theatre itself. Such a cute venue and a wonderfully intimate space which the company made full use of. Entrances and exits made through the auditorium added to the sense of our really being in Titfield and the actors did take advantage of the opportunities this gave them to interact with the audience!

    I’m pleased I went to Titfield Thunderbolt and, as Seaford Little Theatre is only 45 minutes by train from Eastbourne & easily walked from Seaford station, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for future productions.