ACT Reviews 2022-2023 Season

THE RAILWAY CHILDREN Adapted for the stage by Mike Kenny from the novel by E Nesbitt Director Carla Stokes Hyde Little Theatre The audience was greeted to an open stage with a bricked railway tunnel back cut cloth. In front were two station porter trolleys, stage left and right, piled high with suitcases and parcels. They were cleverly used, along with other period props, for each scene. A coal pile and signals on the proscenium arch completed the visual imagery. All this coupled with the company’s excellent presentation of authentic costumes (The Boyz Costume Hire) hair and make-up transported the audience back to Edwardian England. The lighting and sound plots were integral to the story telling to underpin the drama.Themusic from the original York RailwayMuseumproduction, covering every emotion was wonderful, not unlike a film score. My one and only gripe is that the speakers were in front of the stage allowing the music to come between the actor and the dialogue; I have to mention this because the spoken word was so well delivered. For my generation there were certain books you read, one being Edith Nesbit’s “The Railway Children”. This imaginative stage adaptation by Mike Kenny is faithful to the original. It fluidly moved from story to thrilling action giving an emotional and magical theatrical experience for all ages. Directed with precision the production was full of life and energy. The attention to detail was so important to its success. To recreate the adventures of the Mr and Mrs Waterbury and their children a strong cast was assembled. The ensemble and support roles engaged the audience creating the world of Roberta, Peter and Phillis, “The Railway Children”. There was multi playing of roles, Richard Hall played their father wrongly accused of spying, a worker and board member of the railway. Richard played each character notably differently. There were many cameo roles played with equal conviction, Anna Evans, as Mrs Viney, Millie Chatterton, as the