Sophia is Backstage! with The Great Train Robbery

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blog by Sophia Moseley

Expect the unexpected; probably the best advice you could give anyone who books tickets to watch Scratchworks Theatre Company production of The Great Train Robbery,

“We weren’t expecting you to be here” says Co-Artistic Director Alice Higginson to the waiting audience.

Using the greatest train heist in history as the basis of their story, you couldn’t possibly predict what connection the four woman cleaning team that is Sparkles Shine Soap & Sponge can have with Ronnie Biggs and his team of train robbers, but you soon find out,

“I looked for cleaners in the Yellow Pages but it seems there aren’t any men” says the robber who was tasked with finding someone to clean their hideout, Leatherslade Farm in Buckinghamshire.

In their blue boiler suits and white T-shirts, Hanora Kamen, Alice Higginson, Laura Doble and Sian Keen morph from cleaners armed with Marigolds to train robbers armed with balaclavas, to crack shot (or should that be crack pot?!) officers of the Flying Squad armed with kazoos and 1963 bravado,

“Right chaps let’s crack on like a builder’s backside”

And yes, you did read that right – kazoos played an important role in this performance, quite literally and they’re not as easy to play as you think, especially when you’ve been hauled up out of the audience (front row seats come at a price!)

Buzzing the theme tune to Mission Impossible with the youngest member, Alfie who was around 13, kazooing solo while the rest of the audience wiggled their fingers, I think it’s fair to say there was not one person who didn’t have their waving hands in the air.

“Let’s get down to business” say the four Flying Squad officers as they turn their back on the audience to relieve themselves much to the uproarious amusement of the audience, the men probably laughing the loudest.

With miming and rapid role changing they soon have everyone in a chain gang passing the imaginary wads of money to the back of the auditorium.

Runaway trains, cops and robbers and finally escaping with the local W.I it was a non-stop caper of madness and mayhem.

In the meantime I’m off to practice my kazoo skills just in case!