Review: Heartbeat at Buxton Opera House

David Lonsdale and Steven Billington in Heartbeat at Buxton Opera House from June 14 to 18, 2016.
David Lonsdale and Steven Billington in Heartbeat at Buxton Opera House from June 14 to 18, 2016.

Rolling hills, lush meadows, a close-knit community and scant crime - not much separates the fictional place of Aidensfield from the tranquil villages of the High Peak.

Few towns could be more suited to host the touring production of police drama Heartbeat than Buxton.

This whimisical look at the Sixties highlights a golden era of village bobbies and eagle-eyed neighbours bound together in a story which is unlikely to give nervous viewers nightmares.

The play stars two of the original television cast members, David Lonsdale as odd-job man David Stockwell and Steven Blakeley as Pc Geoff Younger. Both get a round of applause the minute they appear on stage at the Opera House when the former engages in a spot of fishing and the latter makes his entrance on a bicycle. The pair are then embroiled in a couple of hair-brained schemes including a grave-digging task in return for the handyman teaching the bobby to dance.

But the real drama is in the Aidensfield Arms where glamorous Gina welcomes a stranger with a dodgy Irish accent (Callum O’Neil) and the scene is set for an explosive plotline. Carly Cook gives a lovely performance of the Liverpudlian landlady, backed up by Hollyoaks actor Matt Milburn as handsome bobby Joe.

Heartbeat fans gve the thumbs-up to David Horne’s portrayal of ageing undertaker cum hopeless bartender Bernie Scripps.

The revolving set is as much a star of the show as the performers, transporting the cast from the pub to the countryside to the churchyard.

This leisurely meander back in time, set to a Sixties soundtrack, is as warming as a cup of Yorkshire Tea, as safe as houses and is running at Buxton Opera House until Saturday, June 18.