AND so the 78th season of the country's oldest repertory theatre begins.

But while Frinton Summer Theatre's first show may not have been Usain Bolt-like off the blocks, Strangers on a Train did provide some rather tantalising tasters of what promises to be its best programme yet.

That's mainly down to the acting.

Frinton has always taken pride in giving actors their first job straight out of drama school and with names like Gary Oldman and Vanessa Redgrave cutting their theatrical teeth there, that's some big old shoes to fill.

Who knows what will come of Christopher Weeks and Molly Chesworth in years to come but if their performances as architect Guy Haines and his new wife, Anne is anything to go by, they have a bright future ahead of them.

Another name to look out for is Abram Rooney, who was utterly beguiling as the psychopathic playboy Charles Bruno, who thinks he's done a deal with Guy to swap murders.

Sure it's a great character to play but he's terrific in channelling his inner Al Pacino in a mesmerising performance that lights up the stage whenever he is on it.

Frinton has also compiled a pretty great supporting cast, some all too fleeting in this rather odd play, but hopefully we'll see them again later on in the season.

What made the acting even more impressive was the set they had to deal with. At first indicating an exciting minimalist, almost abstract motif, with three white oblongs on black, symbolising good and bad, for some unknown reason a whole plethora of furniture was then carted off and on for each scene. Making it even more distracting was the fact you could see behind the stage as the crew struggled to get them ready.

When the acting is this good you don't need a set. An audience will realise where the action is taking place, especially an audience that has been doing this for 78 years.

Strangers on a Train runs until Saturday.