Great Train Robbery

Apparently, one of the men involved in the Great Train Robbery of 1963 resides in Hove - but this story isn’t about him, instead it’s about the women behind the heist, the ones that got away. Scratchworks Theatre provide a fresh take on a well-covered heist.

Scratchworks skilfully use audience participation throughout the show, enlisting a whole row to play the Mission Impossible theme song on kazoos during some key fight scenes

The Great Train Robbery took place on 8 August 1963, when a group of men robbed Her Majesty's Royal Mail train, getting away with £2.6 million - most of which remains unfound. So how exactly did these men get away with it? Scratchworks put forward a fun alternative where women take centre stage. Enter One (Laura Doble), Two (Alice Higginson), Three (Sian Keen) and Four (Hanora Kamen) - they remain nameless to keep anonymity - all cleaners who have been called to a job at Leatherslade Farm. But it’s no ordinary job. Here they meet the robbers - who are also played by Laura, Alice, Sian and Hanora, using small but effective costume changes to switch between roles.

The group of actors work extremely well together, mixing elements of clowning, mime, music and physical theatre to tell the story. They paint vivid scenes with just a few words or props and change character with purposeful comic effect - particularly when the women are being chased by themselves as policemen. The characters created by Scratchwork are comedic and well thought out - I particularly enjoyed the mustachioed policeman and the Mary Berry-esque Women’s Institute characters singing about soggy bottoms.

Scratchworks skilfully use audience participation throughout the show, enlisting a whole row to play the Mission Impossible theme song on kazoos during some key fight scenes and at one point getting someone to play the role of a rug. Normally this would fill me with dread but the company made sure everyone was relaxed.

Scratchworks work extremely well as a unit and you can tell they are having fun whilst performing which rubs off on the audience. This is a great show that can be enjoyed by all the family - and you might even learn something on the way. 

Reviews by Rosie Blackwell-Sutton

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★★★★
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★★★
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★★★★
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Great Train Robbery

★★★★
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★★★
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

In the early hours of Thursday 8th August 1963, the heist of the century is under way. Signals are scrambled, phone lines cut and millions of pounds of cash stolen. Five days later the first clues are found, the gang is busted and the rest is history. But what about the ones that got away? “Totally captivating” (Beaford Arts). “The show was a marvel to behold. Great Train Robbery is a must-see” (Plymouth Herald). Join the unlikely female four as they leave behind their kitchen-sink lives and embark on a madcap adventure of mischief and mayhem. Using a raucous combination of physical theatre, live music and clowning, award-winning Scratchworks will uncover the truth about history’s forgotten women.

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