High Tide readers may never have experienced the joys of a night in a Scarborough boarding house. If you ever do, you’d better hope it’s not like the Paradise on Bright’s Cliff.
Detective Jim Stringer (Matthew Booth) of the railway police arrives from York to investigate the disappearance of a colleague in suspicious circumstances. Against his better judgement he follows the victim’s last known movements by staying in the same room at the Paradise. But will Stringer survive to see the morning?
His fellow guests are a motley crew. The interplay between the seductive landlady Miss Amanda Rickerby (Jennifer Bryden), her brain-damaged brother (Liam Evans-Ford) and the two paying guests, the pompous Fielding (Steve Huison) and the sleazy Vaughan (Andy Cryer) is an utter delight; in a classic whodunnit set-up they all seem to dislike each other, while they are all apparently bound together by a terrible secret. Who murdered the railwayman and why, and who is covering up for them?
This adaptation by director Chris Monks keeps the faith with Andrew Martin’s original novel. The production uses projections to give a sense of Stringer’s own struggles in piecing the story together. This and the set design work really well in the service of a high-class entertainment. I sometimes think we under-appreciate the extraordinary amount of acting talent we have in this country. Here again five actors, none of whom is a star name, turn in exceptional performances full of versatility, charm and occasionally bite.
So who did do it? And will they get Jim as well? You’ll have to go and see for yourself.
Last Train to Scarborough runs at the SJT until 14 June
- Published in On Stage: Reviews