I really liked the setting of the play; I find older setting more interesting and unpredictable. When we were sat down I noticed the minimal prop usage, they’d use luggage as tables, movable stages as the train and created a tunnel effect only using curtains and dim lighting; it was very well done. When the play was coming up to half time, at this point the children were trying to stop the train, I was expecting the movable plat form again but coming onto the stage was a real train with carriages too, it was amazing! The acting they used was very good, you could see the change in voice and posture quite clearly when the children (main characters) changed in to adults and back again. The story line was interesting but predictable, everyone knew the father would come back, but it was nice to see it too. One of the things I liked the most was the children’s antics throughout the play, very funny. I would recommend this play to anyone who likes family viewing. - Abi Jarvis
07 Feb 11
Well, I saved this up for a Christmas treat, so I’m coming to it late. In another case of appropriate site specific theatre, E.Nesbit’s story is mounted in a traverse staging alongside two platforms of the former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo Station. It’s a pleasant enough experience, but I’m afraid I think everyone has been a bit seduced by the venue. Move it to a conventional theatre and this would be a slight story and a pedestrian production. As it is, it’s staged well (though depending on where you’re sitting, it can be a bit like watching a tennis match, such is the width of the traverse) with good performances all round. The movement of the platforms on which most of the action takes place along the rails is quiet, swift and unobtrusive. When the train makes its appearance, it’s a treat, though I think they could contrive to arrange a few more appearances.
There’s not much meat in the story, but enough for ‘family entertainment’ . Some of the dialogue was lost in the surprisingly quiet amplification (you’d have thought they’d have sorted that after nearly six months). Even though it’s a station rather than a theatre, and there are 1000 people and a proper train, it’s a surprisingly intimate production, but one which for me was good but not great. - Gareth James
02 Jan 11
Although it's not remotely seasonal there can be few shows which provide as much festive family fun as The Railway Children. Of course the attraction is not just the much loved book and film but the remarkable site specific setting of the converted Eurostar terminal. If it had been staged in a traditional theatre this adaptation might have fallen a bit flat as there is a lot of narration and even the much heralded arrival of a real steam locomotive was a bit of an anti climax, possibly because it has been discussed so much. The story is well told though and there are engaging performances from the actors playing the children, especially Lucy Clein as the youngest, and Stephen Klynman as Perks. The theatre itself is the rael star for adults and it would be a shame if it was dismantled at the end of the run - Kneehigh must be kicking themselves that they have staged Brief Encounter so recently. - David Baxter
28 Dec 10
Very concerned as no advance notice of "smoke effects" which as a sufferer of Asthma is a potential trigger and therefore had to change seats. Give staff their due they were very prompt and professional with giving me an alternative sea. - Andreane Thomas
21 Dec 10
Seats were crammed in ,really small legroom and I am 5'5''.Drinks at the bar were extortionate.£10.10 for a bottled beer and a wine.Very hot and stuffy .It was my husbands birthday gift and he asked to go home at the break.DISAPOINTING INDEED. - C Patrick
19 Dec 10
The Railway Children is an innovative piece of theatre. My husband and myself saw this play on Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I think I have turned into a geek as I couldn't help but enthuse when the steam engine arrived on 'stage'. This play is a joy to watch and I would recommend to all ages. - Maria
15 Jul 10
All I CAN SAY IS WHAT A WONDERFUL SHOW--I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING JAMES SAYS.THE BEST SHOW (in my opinion) IN LONDON IS WARHORSE, BUT THIS COMES CLOSE FOR IT'S IMAGINATIVE SETS AND STAGING.NO DOUBT 10/10 STEVE H - STEVE HURRELL
14 Jul 10
I have to wonder if the reviewer was paying attention and perhaps nodded off for a few scenes, hence why he perhaps found some plot lose ends. Also, he has obviously never been in a Victorian railway tunnel in his entire life, which usually allows space at the side for someone to stand in as a train passes...
I thought this was absolutely wonderful and one of the best things I've seen in a long long time. It was wonderfully staged and acted, and covered many of the themes the film missed out on. Great for children and adults alike. - James
14 Jul 10
how exactly is the children’s father sprung from prison after serving time as a suspected spy? And how does the boy who breaks his leg in the tunnel not get killed by the rushing train?
How can Coveney question this, has he not seen the film? - sadie
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