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Review: Terror on the Tracks at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design

Railway, stations and trains have always been a rich source of ideas for storytellers. They are about people leaving or returning, of chances taken and mistakes made, so it is no real surprise that writers of ghost stories and tales of the supernatural return repeatedly to the idea.

From esteemed writers such as Charles Dickens and MR James, to many others who history has forgotten, it is a seam of storytelling ideas that continually provide ideas and inspiration.

Like all of Don’t Go Into The Cellar’s production, Terror on the Tracks is a two person piece, with actors Jonathan Goodwin and Gary Archer providing atmosphere and sound.

We join tavern landlord Lancelot Trubshaw, and his wife Guinevere, who spends the entire time changing barrels, in the snug surrounding of The Railway Tavern. It is a night full of revelry and drinking, until things take a turn for the macabre.

The stage setting is simple. Two red lights cast shadows ominously against the wall, while a number of tables and glasses provide the setting. The use of spine-tingling original music builds to crescendo, further leading to an atmosphere of unease.

Most of the first half is taken up by a reading of Charles Dicken’s The Signalman, rich in accents, characterisation and drama, both explicit and implied.

The bigger stage that the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design has caused problems having seen most of Don’t Go Into The Cellars previous productions, they work best in a much more intimate setting, and the increased space between performer and audiences means that there is a certain loss in atmosphere.

The second half of this entertaining evening was given to a number of shorter stories, all rich in detail and all fitting well together.

Terror on the Tracks is an entertaining and haunting night at the theatre, and a useful addition to Don’t Go Into the Cellar’s already rich performance repertoire.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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