We were disappointed when Spike Theatre were victims of the latest cultural cuts (the innovative troupe failed to qualify for the latest round of Arts Council grants earlier in the year). We’ve always thought them to be one of the region’s most reliable and engaging production companies.

All this talk of a Cultural Olympiad and what have we got to show for it? The People’s Torch being jogged through the city? Better run fast, boys…

Still, Spike remain undaunted, and plan a new show celebrating the life and times of Kenny Everett for the autumn.

Until then, there’s the small matter of a murder to clear up…

The company has teamed up with the Railway Touring Company to stage a summer promenading production with a difference: it’s set on the 07:50 to Scarborough.

And you thought it was only the bacon rolls that were deadly on the trans Pennine route?

The train’s a 195o’s pullman, complete with steam locomotive, frilly dining carriages straight outta Brief Encounter and, of course, a motley crew of fellow passengers with evil intent (with at least one of them in possession of a return ticket too many).

As the train puffs out of Lime Street, the ensemble from Hope Street’s award-winning Spike Theatre will mingle with the guests, and the murder mystery is set in train. Expect a brouhaha over your bucks fizz, false accusations over your finger rolls and shocking scenes as you pull out of Staleybridge.

There will be an interval for passengers to see the sights in Scarborough (probably not long, then) while ruminating over some of the clues before re-boarding to indulge in a slap up four-course meal, with wine, on their return journey. En route, the murderer will be revealed.

We were all for it. And then we saw the price. £268 per person? Talk about criminal…

Well, if it helps save Spike, maybe we’ll put it down to a crime of passion.

Murder on the Coast Express, 2 July
Lime Street Station, Liverpool


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