Concord Theatricals today announce that one hundred years after it was first written, Arnold Ridley’s genre-defining The Ghost Train has been released in a new revised version by Jocelyn and Nicolas Ridley. To celebrate this milestone, the company are also republishing the Ridley classic play collection featuring Beggar My Neighbour, Bellamy, East of Ludgate Hill, Easy Money, Geranium, Murder Happens, The Return, Tabitha, Third Time Lucky, The Wrecker and You, My Guest all of which are now available to buy and perform.
Jocelyn and Nicolas Rigby said today, “The Ghost Train has been delighting audiences for generations. The plot is perfect. The characters are credible and engaging. The dramatic structure is a model for well-made plays of the era. Our aim has been simply to refresh some elements of the dialogue to make the piece easier for a modern cast to perform and a modern audience to enjoy.
“Arnold Ridley was, above all, a man of the theatre with a maxim ‘if it works do it’. Copies of The Ghost Train in his archive show evidence of any number of tweaks and re-writes made to suit the requirements of a particular production.
“We hope that our adaptation will bring new life to a play that’s given so much enjoyment to so many people for so long.”
The classic comedy-thriller, The Ghost Train, has been a firm favourite with professional and non-professional theatre companies ever since it was first produced in 1925. Six passengers find themselves stranded late at night in the waiting-room of an isolated Cornish railway station. Ignoring the ghostly tales and dire warnings of the stationmaster, they decide to stay where they are until morning – with terrifying consequences. Finally, all is revealed and the details of a fiendish plot are laid bare. The play went on to define a genre and inspired hundreds of plays and motion pictures, including The Lady Vanishes and Night Train to Munich.
Arnold Ridley OBE (7 January 1896 – 12 March 1984). Born in Bath – and always a proud West Countryman – Arnold Ridley is best known today for playing the part of Private Godfrey in Dad’s Army. This came at the end of a long and varied career in the theatre. He was a prolific playwright, a skilled stage and film director and a versatile actor with a wide range of theatre, radio, television and film credits.
In contrast to the gentle Private Godfrey, he fought in both the First and Second World Wars and had the unusual distinction of being invalided out of the British Army on two occasions. After being evacuated from France in 1940, he joined the Local Defence Volunteers which later became the Home Guard.
In addition to The Ghost Train, he wrote more than thirty plays and a variety of short stories and newspaper and magazine articles. His plays were described by The Guardian as: “tightly plotted, witty, compassionate, often exciting, about ordinary people doing extraordinary things”.
He died in 1984 and his ashes are buried in his parents’ grave in Bath Abbey Cemetery.
The Ghost Train (Revised) and other Arnold Ridley classic titles are now available to buy and perform at www.ConcordTheatricals.co.uk