Love train 

The three extended scenes that make up ART Station's Last Train to Nibroc nicely fit the tried-and-true structure of "Boy Meets Girl, Boy Loses Girl, Boy Gets Girl." Maybe a little too nicely, as Arlene Hutton's WWII-era love story proves wispy despite its charming moments.

Two young people must share a seat on the Santa Fe Super Chief from California to New York. Easy-going Raleigh (Jeremy Cudd) has been discharged from the service for health reasons, while prim May (Barbara Cole) feels estranged from her enlisted fiancé. Initially wary of each other, the two discover they're from neighboring towns in Kentucky, and Raleigh reveals that their train is carrying the recently deceased bodies of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Nathaniel West.

In the second scene, their once-promising relationship has soured, and we see their impromptu reunion at a festival after months apart. Both players convey the ache of lost idealism. Raleigh, once an aspiring novelist, now is working the family farm and hearing his diction disintegrate.

The final act, with its Norman Rockwell setting of a porch, proves a little soft and turns on a hard-to-swallow contrivance wherein May mistakes Raleigh's epilepsy with another disease that sounds vaguely similar. May can be slow on the uptake, while Cole herself comes across as sharper than that.

Lacking enough grit to be truly memorable, ART Station's Last Train to Nibroc is still a nostalgic romance with some fleeting insights into medical care and religious vocations during World War II. And at less than 90 minutes with no intermission, it's a breezy, non-stop trip.

Last Train to Nibroc plays through April 14 at ART Station, 5384 Manor Drive, Stone Mountain, with performances at 8 p.m. Wed.-Sat. and 3 p.m. Sun. $15-$21. 770-469-1105.


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