Tonight we are looking something slightly different in the form of a review of a theatre stage show. As you can guess by the title it is railway related and even features a real life steam engine. The steam locomotive in question is a rather stunning ex-LWSR Adams T3 on loan from the National Railway Museum in York.
Its been just over 5 years since the Railway Children first steamed into London, originally based at the old Eurostar terminal at London Waterloo it is now berthed at a custom-built theatre next to the legendary Kings Cross station. When you first arrive at the theatre you are greeted by a ticket office which has been designed to look like a Victorian countryside booking office. This sets the tone for a show that has gone the extra mile in creating an atmosphere that would even put some heritage lines to shame. The railway children was based at Oakworth (now part of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway) and as a result the main reception area has been decorated with much charm and care to resemble a Great Northern Railway station waiting room with railway posters, old baggage cases all labelled up, railway style signs and benches. Once you enter the theatre itself this immersive theme carries on with the audience being spilt into platforms either side of the tracks/stage area. The platform is completed with a bridge at one end and a signal box and semaphore signal at the other.
On to the play itself, the story told doesn’t stick to the original book 100% but it does stay true to the main spine of the novel that focuses around the three children’s adventures which bring hardship, hope and finally happiness and it does whilst keeping the subplots bound to the main narrative in a natural and integral way. The biggest cheer of the night was when the T3 made its grand entrance at the end of act 1 but for me the biggest star of the night was the brilliant Serena Manteghi who played the brave and loyal Bobbie and Andrew Dunn who played the old station master Perks.
I took my 5 year old daughter and my 8 year old sister in law and both of them were engrossed by the show and so were me and my wife. This show is a must watch for families and the perfect excuse for steam enthusiasts who want to see the T3 looking immaculate and probably the closet we will ever see of her being in steam.
Overall the Railway Children is a brilliant family friendly immersive show that is also great value for money. For info visit http://www.railwaychildrenlondon.com. It also means I get to use something which hasn’t been used in a long time the LocoYard 5 Star Award.