4/5 Stars

★★★★ Full Steam Ahead for this Vaults Festival Comedy

Tom and Amy Milne review The Great Train Robbery at Vaults Festival

great-train-robberyRunning until Sunday as part of the vaults festival (a venue worth visiting for a few beers even if you’re not catching a show), the cast of the Great Train Robbery showed no signs of opening night nerves. The plot covers a new twist on the events of the great train robbery of 1963; offering an alternate explanation of the ‘four that remained at large’ and the whereabouts of the unrecovered money.

The ensemble give an engaging performance with a simple (almost non-existent) lighting and sound set up; the fact that they could retell such a completed story so clearly and with so few props is to their credit. The piece is structured through the retelling of past events, showing how the gang were recruited, how they evaded the police, and how they remained in hiding. The cast of four do a solid job of filling the boots of 16 characters between them. Armed only with a guitar, some kazoos and the odd prop, the girls paint the scene well and, after a slower start, the story zips along at pace with some genuinely funny moments and catchy tunes. What’s more, being inside the venue of The Vaults with its noisy backdrop of real trains shunting in and out of Waterloo overhead added fantastic extra realism to this piece. The frequent breaking of the fourth wall and its (hesitant) audience participation pieces provided some of the funnier moments whilst drawing you in further as the gang’s fifth member.

Scratchworks Theatre Company is “an ensemble of four women who work collaboratively to create highly visual, playful theatre from scratch” – their latest effort with Great Train Robbery is definitely worth a watch.

Tom and Amy Milne

The Great Train Robbery plays at Vaults Festival until 12th February, 2017


Scratchworks Theatre Company is made up of four core creatives:
Laura Doble

Alice Higginson

Hanora Kamen

Sian Keen

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