Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Fringe giants, Sell A Door theatre company, bring the classic tale of the Railway Children to life with enchanting young actors and inventive staging. Although not a piece of ground-breaking theatre, this is a great show to take the family along to. Enjoyable and heart-warming, this is well worth seeing.
The story is of three children: Roberta, Phyllis and Peter, whose father is imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit forcing the children and their mother to escape to the countryside. The story that follows concerns the struggle for the family to find out what happened to their father whilst making friends in the new community.
The actors playing the three children are all strong and entertaining to watch. The two females, Connie Lynn Jones and Chloe Huckle do have occasional accent difficulties, switching from true Queens English to a broad North London accent throughout. However, they are both impressive young actresses. Peter is probably the strongest of the children, embracing the character fully. However, it is John played by Chris Thorpe and Mr Perks by Stephen Barden who are the true stars of the show bringing a lovely comic edge to their performances and, of the entire cast, are the most convincing.
The story is adapted well the story flows well and the piece never falters in pace or becomes boring: important when it is, essentially for younger audiences. The piece is directed flawlessly and the use of the stage is creative: half of the stage is for the railway tracks and the other for the families’ home. There is one instance of ‘flashback’ esq direction which is an added bonus to the production, showing that the team behind it can bring the story out of the tradition realms of theatre that, predominantly, it sticks to.
Another nice touch is that one of the characters – Jim is a young, budding actor found on the Royal Mile, which, as well as enjoyable to watch, cements it as a family orientated event, rather than merely a piece of adaptation theatre. I recommend any family to take a trip down Sell A Door’s tracks, a lovely way to spend an hour.