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Just the ticket for an enchanting journey

The Railway Children, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Monday September 11-16 I recall being captivated by E. Nesbit’s classic Edwardian children’s novel when it was read to me by a primary school teacher and then thoroughly enjoying the 1970 film as a teenager (I remember feeling thoroughly embarrassed as I broke into tears as Jenny Agutter greeted "Daddy" at the smoky railway station). This adaptation retells the story of three middle class children whose affluent lifestyle collapses when their father mysteriously disappears one evening with two strangers. The children then are forced "play poor" and move to the Yorkshire countryside with their mother where they discover the true meaning of poverty. The set makes use of authentic looking props and the production is brought to life with clever use of computer images. The children have adventures, develop new friendships and particularly enjoy the railway station and getting to know Perks the stationmaster and his family. There are strong performances from the entire cast and I’m sure the talented actors playing the children are slightly older than they were made to look! Stewart Wright is particularly impressive as Perks and he also doubles up as narrator bringing delightful humour to the production. The story is about friendships, family relationships and generosity of spirit as well as touching on inequalities and injustices. It has certainly stood the test of time and the audience are taken on a charming and enchanting journey. The children in the audience all seemed to be totally absorbed by the performance, as did their parents and grandparents.

Once again there was a tear in my eye during the final scene at the station, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone!

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