Tuesday, 18 October 2016

FOUR STAR REVIEW The Railway Children


THE Railway Children is one of the classics of British literature. Written by E Nesbit it is full of adventure as it tells the story of how three children, Bobbie, Phyllis and Peter have to move up to the country after their father mysteriously disappears and how their lives change as a result.
Their story is currently being played out at the King’s Cross Theatre in a stage version of the book and it works a treat.
The staging is clever and imaginative with the audience sitting either side of a set and parallel to the railway track which runs right through the middle of the theatre. The set moves up and down the track to denote travel and changes in set or surroundings and there are plenty of special effects, toots, whistles and smoke.
The children, played by adults and who converse with the audience throughout as they narrate the story of how they became the Railway Children, run up and down, climb onto the gates to wave at the trains rushing past and run up and over the bridge at one end of the theatre.
As well as the brilliant staging this production boasts a stellar cast among whom is Justin Fletcher of CBeebies fame who is brilliant as Mr Perks the station master who befriends the three children.
Caroline Harker is delightful as Mother and Felicity Houlbrooke, Jack Hardwick and Louise Calf as Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis respectively are terrific as the children, each bringing out the different characteristics superbly.
However the real and undoubted star of the show is the very real steam engine which makes a grand entrance at the end of act one.
As it rolls gently into the theatre with steam billowing out and whistles tooting, it is a real sight and not just for the train spotters in the audience.
This is a definite feel good show for all ages. It is utterly magical, full of emotion, drama and humour - and by the end of it I’m sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

The Railway Children is on at the King’s Cross Theatre until January 8, 2017. Tickets cost from £25. Visit www.railwaychildrenlondon.com or call the box office on 0844 815 7121.

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