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Criterion steams in with a winner for all ages

October 14, 2019

The Railway Children, Criterion Theatre,  Earlsdon, until Oct 19

 

 Elementary Whatson is delighted to hand over reviewing of this stage adaption of the classic children's story to 7-year-old twin sisters from Earlsdon, Hattie and Alice Mogan 

 

 

Alice: "It was epic and my friends would say I'm like Phyl (played by Charlotte Rawson) because she is funny and cheeky. 

 In terms of the grown ups - we thought it was brilliant too. The clever use of set and script to transport the audience to different locations and times was fantastic - and carried out with just the right blend of humour and technology!

 It's brilliant having a theatre so close to us.

 We would urge everyone to go and see this fantastic show - and if you don't have to wipe your eye at the end, you must be made of stone!

 

 

Hattie: "I thought it was great because of the actors and my favourite character was Phyl because she got all the humorous lines and was a great actor.

 Bobbie (payed by Leonie Slater) was also a really good actor and showed all the emotion she wanted to show the audience.  The three playing children, Peter(Ted McGowan), Phyl (Charlotte Rawson) and Bobbie were all brilliant actors.

 

 

Regular reviewer Barbara Goulden ( 7-plus!) was also in the first night audience. She writes:

 

What a stunning set. 

 Congratulations to designer Mandy Sutton and her team of ten builders for the way they framed this adaptation of Edith Nesbit's classic Edwardian story.

 Not to mention Helen Withers' direction of the sizeable Criterion cast who had audiences laughing before discreetly brushing a few tears from their eyes as they left the theatre on Saturday.

Those among us old enough can still remember the film version with Jenny Agutter. But  this 2010 update by Mike Kenny has much more humour, with great lines for the three young leads: Leonie Slater (Bobbie), Ted McGowan (Peter) and newcomer Charlotte Rawson (Phyllis). 

 These "children" push, shove and argue as they relate their story, telling us in the audeince what to expect; when we need to use our imaginations and explaining how really they were just an "ordinary" family....who happen to have three servants.

 The three leads all have difficult synchronised speeches which they handle with pinpoint timing. 

 What surprised me most was how enthralled all the youngsters who went along to this performance appeared to be.  There are a lot of words and strange old-world values about pride and not accepting charity that must have puzzled some.  

Leonie was especially good at leading us through the important bits....although I noted there was no explaination as to why their dear father had finally been cleared of any wrong-doing.

Surely it was one of those many servants whodunnit?

 Or was Daddy just a Communist sympathiser who might have been mistaken for a spy back in 1905?

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