Train and Still Life - Dorchester Drama 

Broadmayne Village Hall and St Mary’s Community Hall, Dorchester

Noel Coward’s Still Life, better known as the stiff-lipped weepie Brief Encounter, centres on genteel star-cross’d lovers Alec and Laura, thrown together when she gets a sooty smut caught in her eye on a railway station.

In the film their love is a tragically doomed affair, but in this more nuanced adaptation by Dorchester Drama we see Alec (Martin Stephen) not as a romantic hero but as a selfish coercive creep, his proclamations of ardour to bedazzled Laura (Mel Austin) unsettling rather than heartwarming.

They fill their roles to perfection, initially warming hearts with their accidental love then turning them to ashes as reality intrudes and the mirage of their blissful future sours.

Just as well played are the characters around them, the station staff led by prim, no-nonsense Myrtle Bagot (Lynn Cockerill) and her bumbling station master swain Albert Godby (Mike Bradburn), assisted by buffet maid Beryl (Ivana Jelinic) and her lovelorn Stanley (Jordan Wiseman).

The roistering soldiers who ruffle Myrtle’s composure are hilariously brought to life by Peter Allison and John Butler, while Sinead Gannon is in excellent prissy form as Laura’s ghastly chum Dolly.

Full marks also to Dee Thorne who has overseen the fantastic costumes.

Dorset Echo: A general shot from the film Train A general shot from the film Train (Image: Dorchester Drama)

Train, by Sean Colledge, is a very different kettle of fish, or carriage of passengers.

A modern psychodrama, six travellers are heading for different destinations. They start bickering, their social prejudices stirred by vinegary widow Mary (Monica Hunt), but when terror disrupts their journey they find themselves heading to completely unexpected places.

Again, it’s a strong cast with Fran Sampson and Eve Staddon playing a mother and daughter with plenty of secrets, Sam Kelly as a wide boy not quite as cocksure as he thinks he is, John Butler as a retired cop and Zeph Staddon as Jo, who is - well, exactly who is Jo?

Both one-act plays are directed by Sean Colledge and once again Dorchester Drama presents a fabulous night of top quality entertainment.

Performances are at Broadmayne village hall, Cowleaze Road, Broadmayne DT2 8EW on Saturday, April 20 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm and at St Mary’s Community Hall, Alexandra Road, Dorchester DT1 2LZ on Saturday, April 27 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

Tickets are £10 plus booking fee from and further details are available from 07749 569730.