Saturday 6th July, 12.00pm, Studio Space
All tickets £5
Tormented Train Traveller & sit-down (when he can get a seat) satirical comedian Steve Gribbin rails against the current state of Britain’s Obscenely Expensive Railway System, using some of his very worst journeys as examples. Like the anti-Michael Portillo, Steve takes us on a Rail Rage (de)tour of cancellations, delays and overcrowding that’s enough to drive you to drive.
But he doesn’t stop there (it’s not scheduled): Steve shunts back into History to acknowledge the immense social change that the trains have brought, from the adoption of “railway time” (not an oxymoron) in the 1860s to the introduction of the timetable (still a work in progress).
He also pays tribute to the unsung heroes that built the Railways in the first place, the unjustly reviled Irish Navvies, soon to be replaced by Sat-Navvies.
The show will be a mixture of stand-up, songs, poetry, sound effects, storytelling, shouting, weeping and hilarious true train announcements, as Steve examines all aspects of our railways, from Beeching to Brunel, from Steam (H2O) to HS2, from Here to Eternity (also known as travelling on a Sunday).
There is even a personal dimension, as Steve’s Great Grandfather William Wallace (no, not that one) was a Wheeltapper & Shunter knocked over and killed at Liverpool Lime Street Station in 1930. And his Great Great Grand-dad William Wallace Snr from Wexford, who was, of all things, a Fish Porter (well, Godlfish were always forgetting their luggage, and the Pirahnas were apt to eat theirs).
There will be plenty of songs, from the funereal Blues Deep South (alright, Brighton) lament of “The Slow Train From Burgess Hill”, the jaunty power pop of “Excuses, Excuses”, the 21st Worksong-cum-Sea Shanty set in a modern Call Centre “Call Away, Boys, Call Away”, the Northern Platform Soul tribute to Trainspotters, “Let’s Go ‘Spotting (I Think I See A Deltic!)” and finally the Gospel Hallelujah of a Railway System run by the people for the people, called, with startling directness, “The People’s Train!”
The show also looks at the train-wreck that was the original Rail Privatisation in 1997, and the ensuing sheer grinding frustration of modern rail travel. And why the privatised franchise companies still refer to the UK as “Treasure Island”!
Turns out the three most difficult words in the English Language are NOT: “I Love You”, but “Bus Replacement Service”