YOU can almost hear the tones of Alastair Sim and Alec Guinness echoing through the ages as the cast and crew of Salisbury’s Studio Theatre take the audience on a meandering journey through the English countryside of days gone by.

Leading the trip on the 1950s Titfield Thunderbolt were all the stock characters you’d expect in Ealing comedy – a posh, slightly loopy battleaxe of a country lady, a mildly eccentric vicar, a lovelorn boy pining after the vicar’s niece, a dim-witted notreally- villainous villain and a sniffy representative or two of petty officialdom.

The Titfield Thunderbolt follows a rag-tag group of villagers who when faced with the closure of their village branch line decide to run it themselves – to the disgust of the local bus operator.

All sorts of underhand shenanigans result as the train crew try to get their licence and the bus driver does all he can to derail their efforts (sometimes literally).

Lesley Bates, Alistair Faulkner, David Taylor, Roger Street, Emma Young and Stew Taylor play their parts with skill and relish, and George Cotterill is marvellously pedantic as the town clerk (“She’s a local government official, Sam, not a woman of action”).

The beautiful set is something that has to be seen to be fully appreciated and would be a fantastic achievement for a professional group let alone an amateur one.

The Titfield Thunderbolt is a well chosen work for Studio.

It suits their style and the actors are obviously enjoying every word of a beautifully written script.

This is gentle but still laugh-out-loud humour that leaves you feeling proud to be British and ready to join Lady Chesterford to “save the countryside for everyone – except poachers. And ramblers, of course”.


* The Titfield Thunderbolt is at Studio Theatre, Salisbury until Saturday,
May 17. Tickets are available from Salisbury Tourist Information Centre,
Fish Row, or call 01722 342860.