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also visit   Linda Mitchelmore, British Novelist   and to reach me go to Contact  


Playwrights Guild of Canada
Alberta Playwrights Network

At the 36th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival 2017


The play was to have been read out before an audience at an Edmonton Script Salon on October 2, 2016.

The play readers were Michelle Flieger, Doug Mertz, Liana Shannon and Luc Tellier.

Unfortunately the reading had to be terminated after only a third of the work had been read.

A respiratory system attacking substance entered the building, which was evacuated after the fire department was called. The intrusive agent was never definitely identified, though pepper spray was suspected, but fortunately appears to have had no lasting impact.

The play was read through to its conclusion at a special Script Salon on November 20. Sharla Matkin replaced Liana Shannon, and Andy Northrup replaced Doug Mertz.

An official investigation into an undoubted case of severe child abuse quickly goes awry.

The story begins after a rookie police officer encounters a nearly four year old boy wandering lost, and discovers fading bruises over much of the child's body – obviously from a severe beating.

On returning the boy to his home, the officer encounters a hostile, abrasive mother whose explanation he instinctively doubts.

Both parents are plausible suspects in the subsequent investigation: an infantry sergeant-major father with three harrowing combat tours in Afghanistan behind him; a nurse mother burned out by long years at a major hospital emergency ward.

But when police and child protection workers off-handedly dismiss the parents’ explanation that a roving gang of youths attacked their child, are the authorities too eager to lock into seemingly obvious solutions?

An experienced police detective works patiently to find her way through a complex mesh of evasions, half-truths, and lies – some of which may flow from causes other than guilt.

And she is hampered not only by the hostility of the parents, but by pressing factors in her own life which cut close to some of the issues she must deal with in the investigation.


Crazy Train will be directed for the Fringe by Amber Jones.

Amber is a veteran with Morinville’s Caviar Players. Since 2005 she has appeared onstage in A Bad Year for Tomatoes; Aspirin and Elephants; Almost, Maine; Play On!; Hamlette; and most recently in the poignant drama Where Have All The Lightning Bugs Gone? She directed Caviar’s production of White Sheep of the Family. Amber honed her innate talent for theatre by spending a year in the Rosebud Theatrical School programme.

While we are waiting to select a cast and get their photos up – here's a publicity shot of Amber and me in the 2013 Caviar Players production of Allison Williams's amusing Shakespearean knock-off Hamlette.

Amber played the Princess of Denmark, while one of my roles was as the ghost of the former king.

That's Elsinore Castle in the background.

In a shorter version, Crazy Train was originally written in 2009 as part of my public response to a judge declining to imprison a physically abusive military father because he was suffering from PTSD when attacking his two young sons. If you are interested in reading this story, and some follow-up clarification, click on Soldier suffering from PTSD gets probation (You may have to enlarge the image on your browser.)

In writing an initial published newspaper column denouncing that decision, and then in writing the play, I drew on the experiences and observations of a lifetime in and around the Canadian Army — I was born into and grew up in a military family, then spent about thirty years soldiering as a regular and reservist. In a civilian career as a lawyer I spent nearly three decades heavily involved with criminal defence work in Canada's court system. If you are interested in reading this column click on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is no excuse

Crazy Train was a winning entry for 2009 in the one-act plays competition of the St. Albert Festival of the Arts and was read aloud to an audience at the festival by a team of actors.

When I wrote Crazy Train in 2009 the potential for investigator tunnel vision was an integral theme.

In early 2016 I began an overhaul of the play with a view to entering it in the 2017 Fringe.

Not long into this revision I had the disquieting experience of opening a newspaper one day and spotting an account of a recent actual Edmonton court case.

Charges had been dropped against a couple of parents who had been ground through the legal mill for TWO YEARS in a prosecution for harming their infant son.

Their defence counsel excoriated the invstigators for tunnel vision.