Last week we were invited to London to see a very special theatre show – The Railway Children at Kings Cross Theatre. Kings Cross Theatre is set up to be just like a train platform, with seating on both sides and the platform – and train line – being the stage. You can immediately tell that all seats in the theatre would give a great view and it’s the right size to give a really intimate feel that you don’t get with other theatres.
As soon as we took our seats the children were excited – recognising the stage as a train station and pointing our everything they could see – from a railway bridge to luggage on the platform. A few minutes before the performance started the cast came onto the platform, walking up and down, waving and chatting to the audience and really introducing us to the characters of the show. It was a great introduction and one the children loved.
Then, the show started and we were captivated. It’s acted out as The Railway Children as adults looking back on their adventures as children and the way the stage works is fantastic – with platforms slid into place over the train line to create a solid stage. The way that props and people could move seamlessly on and off the stage was great and something the children loved – not knowing what was going to appear next.
The Railway Children tells the story of Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis, three children whose lives change dramatically when their father is mysteriously taken away. They move from London to a cottage in rural Yorkshire with their mother, where they befriend the local railway porter, Perks, and embark on a magical journey of discovery, friendship and adventure. But the mystery remains – where is Father, and is he ever coming back?
The Railway Children is a classic story, and one I loved from my own childhood and I hoped that the theatre production would do the book justice – and it did. The characters were lovable, Bobbie especially was so full of emotion, so expressive and so true to her character that it was so easy to get sucked into the story and be right there, on the train platform, with them.
All of the main parts of the story are portrayed within the show – but if you haven’t read the book I won’t spoil it for you! It’s safe to say though, that adults and children alike will love The Railway Children. I think any child of three or over would enjoy the setting – and the train’s appearance – and older children would really be able to understand the story too.
As a family we are big fans of the theatre but The Railway Children has really pushed the boundaries of performing on stage. Never before have I seen a steam train inside a theatre and that in itself is amazing – and something the children won’t forget in a while! We really loved this show and can’t recommend it enough.
I didn’t think that anything could improve such a wonderful show but from 31 August to 30 October 2016 Justin Fletcher – Mr Tumble – is joining the cast as one of the main characters, Mr Perks. This is such a fantastic casting – as he will be fantastic as Mr Perks – and children will love the show even more with Mr Tumble on stage.
Sadly, The Railway Children is ending on 8th January 2017 and so there are just a few more months to see this classic adaptation. If you love the theatre you will love The Railway Children – it will honestly be like no show you have seen before.
Disclosure: We were invited to see the above show for the purpose of this review however all opinions are my own.