The Phoenix Players forthcoming production The Titfield Thunderbolt, at the Stratford Artshouse from 24 – 26 September, is a re-creation of the classic 1953 Ealing comedy film about a group of villagers from the village of Titfield trying to keep their branch line operating.
It is 1952 and the people of Titfield are horrified to discover that, under the Railway Act of 1949, the line between their rural village and nearby Mallingford is to be closed! The residents commute to work and transport their produce to market on the railway. What can they do?
Particularly hard hit is the local vicar, railway enthusiast Rev. Sam Weech. In a traditional British way he and the local squire, Gordon Chesterford, find a possible answer – buy the line and run it locally. They persuade wealthy Walter Valentine to provide the financial backing and the Ministry of Transport to grant them a one month trial period with an inspection at the end.
The Vicar reaslises a life’s ambition to drive the engine with the local poacher as Fireman … but little do they realise the lengths to which the villainous opposition, the Crump and Son Bus Transport Company, will go to to sabotage all the villager’s efforts eventually derailing the train and carriages the night before the inspection.
Now with no usable engine, Weech decides to get the antique but still-functional Thunderbolt from the museum. They also commandeer an old railway carriage body and a goods brake van for the guard to use. With help from all around, including a visiting Bishop, they finally overcome all efforts to thwart their success to complete the inspection … but the train pulls into Mallingford railway station nearly ten minutes late – will this prove to be the villager’s downfall?
Bringing this production to the Stratford stage is Phoenix stalwart Graham Robson who promises that not only will we see a train, coach AND steam roller on stage, but that the audience will be joining the cast as passengers on this exciting journey!
Don’t miss the train, get your ticket now from the Stratford Artshouse Box Office – click here or call 01789 207100. All departures 7:30pm.