I have seen a lot of sets in my life, even been on a few, but I think it’s fair to say that the most impressive set I have ever seen is the staging of The Railway Children. Set in Waterloo train station where the old Eurostar terminal used to be, the stage has been built around the train tracks in the 1,000 seat venue. It’s not just a show, it is an entire experience. It takes a good 10 minutes to walk into the stage, the experience starts all along the way.
The cast are interactive, engaging with the audience, asking them how far they have travelled, wishing them happy birthday. The characters are multi-dimensional, the script is well written. All of the actors are very good so it would seem unfair to single any of them out.
It’s easy to see why The Railway Children won the Olivier this year for Best Entertainment, how many other productions can boast a real live train? Or to be more precise a Stirling Single, a beautiful 60 tonne steam locomotive. The E. Nesbit classic was turned into a film in 1970, the film is regularly on ‘best film’ lists. Though I admit, I have never seen it and had no idea what was going to happen.
The production has had a record breaking run and good reviews. It is a must see for all the family.
The Waterloo Theatre
24th June 2011