Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

platform 2

Platform 2

Swan Theatre Amateur Company

Swan Theatre, Worcester


Railway stations have a sort of romantic lure for writers, Warrington gave us Paul Simon’s Homeward Bound, Carnforth Brief Encounter and here we are on platform 2, which we assume is the down line as it heads off to Ledbury.

Written and directed by Paul Robinson we have essentially a one act play with, in word processing terms, a header and a footer to set and then reset the scene.

We open with a young girl appearing and tidying up before what we assume is the morning rush arrives, including a couple of buskers who give us Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way and Don McLean’s Vincent before the young girl kicks in with Freya Ridings haunting love song Lost Without You.

Then as fast as the crowds arrived, the hustle and bustle ends, and we are left with Mark, played by Chris Sugars sitting on a bench reading a discarded book, waiting. The platform, indeed the station is now seemingly deserted until Gabby rolls up with her case, in a hurry to get to her brother’s wedding.


David Lancashire and Stacie Jordan as the station buskers

Not that they are that close, seemingly only seeing each other at the annual family Christmas gathering, but it is her brother after all, and Gabby, played by Amanda Blockley, doesn’t want to miss it.

And this is when the real play starts. Gabby wants to know when the next train is due, Mark’s best response is . . . soon, which is marginally better than sometime, I suppose.

It is difficult to tell if Mark is laid back, as in near horizontal, or is just plain apathetic, as he not so much answers as rather unenthusiastically deflects Gabby’s stream of questions. She is anxious, worried about being late, worried the train won’t come in time, willing to get a taxi, or she would be if Mark doesn’t tell her the taxi drivers are on strike. It doesn’t help that she has no phone signal and even the time on her phone is jammed. Nothing is going right.

As for Mark, he is happy the train will arrive eventually, he is in no hurry, has nowhere he is desperate to get to and is happy doing nothing. He even seems to be warming to passing the time of day with Gabby.

gabby and Mark

Amanda Blockley as Gabby and Chris Sugars as Mark

With no train and no one else to talk to, conversational starts to drift into confessional and Gabby starts to open up about her boyfriend, boyfriend being perhaps the politest name she calls him in an expletive laced tirade as she describes how her suspicions of infidelity turned into bare faced fact after she following him and found him if not exactly in flagrante delicto, then at the very least in far more than a "friendly work colleague relationship" with Chantelle – they had obviously become an item, so Gabby had stormed home, packed and left without a word. There’s always a Chantelle says Mark comfortingly.

With her failed relationship off her chest Gabby puts the squeeze on Mark to tell his story and reluctantly he reveals that his marriage to Julie . . . well, it seems to be over, or at the very least has run into a rough patch. A common bond is forming, two lives with loves lost.

Mark is happy to talk about how they met, how Julie changed his bad boy life, how there is no Chantelle or anyone else for that matter, but he is strangely reluctant to explain why it is over, why he has left and it needs to be dragged out of him word by painful word.

The reason . . . well, that is something you will have to buy a platform ticket from the station booking office if you want to find out.

As all is revealed the train finally arrives and Gabby and Mark are on their way along with the crowd of passengers who must have been in some hidden waiting room.

That train leaves and the platform is empty once more apart from a girl waiting for the next train, soon to arrive according to the station announcement, heading for all stations down to Ledbury.

Blockley and Sugars are a fine pairing as Gabby and Mark, bouncing off each other in what is the meat of the play, but the group start, in particular, and the shorter ending return of the group are perhaps a little too drawn out and both are rather confused with lots of aimless wandering and staring into space.

In truth the play would have worked just as well with just the two hander, the real meat in the sandwich, which is the real point of what is going on. The trains will be running in the studio to 22-04-23.

Roger Clarke


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