THEATRE REVIEW: The Ghost Train/The Shadow of the Ghost, Nottingham Theatre Royal

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IT’s all change at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal this week . . . but everything’s staying the same.

That’s because the set for ‘The Ghost Train’ -- which opened the Colin McIntyre Classic Thriller Season, now nearing its 30th year of bringing “murderous entertainment” during the summer break to the city -- is also the backdrop for this week’s ‘Shadow of the Ghost.’

‘The Ghost Train’ penned in 1925 by actor/playwright Arnold Ridley, who many years later was the find a different sort of popularity as Private Godfrey in ‘Dad’s Army,’ had previously been staged by the company in 2007 and three years before in 2004.

However, the latest outing showed that it still had plenty of steam left after nearly 90 years in a light-touch production mixing mystery and suspense as a mixed group of train passengers found themselves stranded in a chilly railway waiting room on a remote branch line in Cornwall.

Fast forward a week to ‘The Shadow of the Ghost’ (co-written by Arnold’s son, Nicholas, in collaboration with Chris Ponka) and the same waiting room performs sterling service as members of the Lemon Tree Players get ready to stage ‘The Ghost Train,’ but the production seems fraught with problems -- not least that the actors seem to be being drawn into a murder mystery that’s all too real.

Fan of Miss Marple (or pipe-smoking sleuth Miss Marpole as one of the characters is called) will revel in this comedy thriller, on until this Saturday, 9th, which will leave you guessing as to the identity of the murderer long after the curtain has dropped.

The month-long season continues next week with crime king Francis Durbridge’s ‘Fatal Encounter’ (11th to 16th August) in which a husband takes the blame for a murder committed by his wife, and ends on a high note with Brian Clemens’ ‘Murder Weapon’ (18th to 23rd August) as police re-open the apparently open-and-shut murder case of Paul Tulliver .

Further details of tickets, £11 to £21, and showtimes for the current and future productions can be obtained from the Theatre Royal box officer on 0115-989-5555 or online at www.trch.co.uk