The cast of The Titfield Thunderbolt, back, from left, John Sole, George Webster, Chris Giles, Geoff Horsnell, Colin Hart, Kevin Wilson and Mike Santer. Front, Jenny Bond and Phyl Marsden.
STAGE REVIEW IT WAS full steam ahead to Totland Church Hall last week for a sparkling production of The Titfield Thunderbolt.
Curtain Up Amateur Dramatic Society stoked up a clever adaptation of the much-loved 1953 film, which captures the determined community spirit of a village which rallies round to fight off the forces of bureaucracy when Titfield learns its passenger rail service is to be axed.
Most of the villagers rally behind landowner Lady Edna Chesterford — played ably by Jenny Bond — who is determined to save the station her grandfather had built. They resolve to buy and run the railway themselves but first need to convince the authorities they are capable of doing so.
They also face problems from Vernon Crump — played superbly by Kevin Wilson — who sees the demise of the railway as an opportunity to run a competitive bus service and is prepared to go to any lengths to stop them.
Full of fun and quirkiness, The Titfield Thunderbolt was an inspired choice by director Lorna Wilson. The film features many memorable scenes and these translated well to the stage, thanks to some imaginative set design by Curtain Up.
Kevin Wilson and Colin Hart (Crump junior) were brilliant together as they plotted and schemed against the villagers’ plans — first by blocking the rails with their stream roller, then shooting holes in the water tower before finally resorting to using their steamroller to tow the unguarded engine and coach off the track.
Kevin demonstrated his versatility with aplomb, playing no less than three characters — Vernon Crump, Mr Valentine, a wealthy villager, and Mr Clegg, railway inspector.
The show featured a lively cast with accomplished performances from Dick Davis as the Rev Sam Weech, Chris Giles, who played his niece, Joan, George Webster as Dan, a retired railwayman turned poacher, and Geoff Horsnell, the town clerk Mr Blakeworth.
With some audience participation, lots of laughs and some clever set design, it all added up to a wonderful evening’s entertainment courtesy of Curtain Up.