The Signalman - Old Red Lion Theatre

London theatre news: Monday 11 November 2019

Christmas shows - Dickens - Off-West End

Paragon Theatre Collective bring Martin Malcolm's adaptation of Charles Dickens' final completed work to the Old Red Lion Theatre over the festive season.
The Signalman at Old Red Lion Theatre

Image: Old Red Lion Theatre

The Signalman was Charles Dickens' final completed work, written after the writer himself had survived a train crash.

A new adaptation of The Signalman by Martin Malcolm ('Warped' - VAULT Festival 2019) will be presented at the Old Red Lion Theatre from 10 December 2019 to 4 January 2020 by Paragon Theatre Collective.

Martin Malcolm's adaptation remains faithful to the original text but also incorporates other aspects of Dickens' writing, including the introduction of Joe the crossing sweeper, who listens as the signalman's tale unfolds.

The Signalman was famously adapted by the BBC in the 1970s as one of the popular Ghost Stories for Christmas, starring Denholm Elliott as the signalman.

Actor/producer Tim Larkfield said ...

"When I first read Martin Malcolm's script I was struck by the immediacy of the storytelling and the characterisation.

I love ghost stories as a genre and I'm really excited to have the chance to bring Charles Dickens' last completed work to life.

I love the way that Martin has written the piece; if you read the original story, it's very faithful to Dickens' text, but also brings out other aspects of the character and some more universal themes like mental health and PTSD.

I hope people who see the show will feel their spine tingling, but also be surprised or moved in ways they might not expect."

Writer Martin Malcolm added ...

"The Signalman is a masterpiece of darkness and suspense and far more than just a ghost story.

Dickens wrote it the year after being caught up in a devastating train crash.

The rail company tried to pin responsibility on the track workers, but Dickens refuses to blame or condemn.

Published in 1866, The Signalman could have been written for our times.

It's a world of zero hour contracts, insecurity and hidden addiction and at its heart is a man unable to talk about or cope with a crisis in his mental health.

Like all the great classics, it's not about then, it's about now.

And it's not about them, it's about us.

Oh and did I mention?

There's a ghost!"

About the team

Tim Larkfield - The Signalman:

Tim trained at the Poor School.

Theatre credits include: Noel Coward's Private Lives (Lauderdale House and UK Tour), The Silk of 1,000 Spiders (Fort Luton, Chatham, for Icon Theatre), GAPS (Katzpace), We're Here Because We're Here (National Theatre), Between a Man and a Woman (Battersea Barge).

TV and Film includes: Alan Turing in Let's Do Philosophy, Alcatraz, Werewolves of the Third Reich, No Such Thing As Monsters, Teeth, We Don't Want To Set The World On Fire (Cannes Short Film Festival 2019).

Tim has also performed regularly at short story event Liars' League, and with improvisation group Three Worlds.

Helen Baranova - Joe:

Helen trained at the Poor School.

Theatre credits include: Wrecked (Derby Theatre, Lounge Festival), The Silk of 1,000 Spiders (Fort Luton, Chatham, for Icon Theatre), Typecast (Moscow Art Theatre School), Mariage Blanc (Asylum Chapel), 7 Sins (Cockpit Theatre).

She has filmed two lead roles in independent short films this year, which are currently being shown at international film festivals; Maya Galkina, a Russian speaking military drone operator in The Occupant and Arline Feynman, wife of famous physicist Richard Feynman in I Love My Wife.

Helen is also a Motion Capture performer with many years of experience in gymnastics and judo.

Sam Raffal - Director:

Sam trained at the Poor School & Identity School of Acting.

Theatre credits include: The Hang of the Gaol (Rolling Sky), 27 Wagons Full of Cotton (Blunt Pyramid), Locker Room Talk (Quantum Frolic), The Time of Your Life, 94,000 (Caravan Theatre).

Film and TV includes: Tracy Beaker Returns (BBC), Taity Trilogy (Sour Little Sweetie), Chimes, Off-Centre (Spleen).

His directorial debut, Fake News, was a total sell-out at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The Signalman is the second show he has directed.

Show listing information


A signalman is haunted by a mysterious figure standing at the mouth of a train tunnel.

He's sure it's a warning - but what is it warning against?


Tim Larkfield - The Signalman

Helen Baranova - Joe the crossing sweeper


Author: Adapted by Martin Malcolm from the story by Charles Dickens
Director: Sam Raffal
Designer: Mike Leopold
Production: Paragon Theatre Collective


Old Red Lion Theatre
418 St John Street


From: Tuesday 10 December 2019

Closed: Saturday 4 January 2020


Previews: £10

Standard: £14.50

Concessions: £12.50


Show website
ActDrop full listing for The Signalman

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