The Railway Children is the second production in Leatherhead Rep Theatre’s three-week season. Dave Simpson has created this as a brand new musical version of the classic story with composer Katherine Mount. This morning performance is mainly for local schools. There were a few independent visitors though including a lady who had travelled many miles to bring her pre-school granddaughter to the theatre.
There is an authentically smoky atmosphere when you walk in which is probably puzzling to the young audience who are unlikely to have seen a steam train before. The cause of the steam and smoke was made apparent by the lovely touch of including ‘Augusta’ the miniature steam train from the Surrey Society of Model Engineers (SSME). This version packs in all the main action from the book and also has some highly entertaining songs. The three ‘children’: Roberta (Emma Mulkern), Peter (Vinnie Monachello) and Phyllis (Romy Clarkson) are excellent in their parts and their singing voices are lovely. William Hazell gives a fabulous performance as Mr Perks. Hannah Brackstone-Brown is rather underused in this production which is a shame as it is the only musical in the season and her voice is outstanding.
The well-behaved school groups were attentive throughout but the younger children were captivated and I think it would be a very good idea for younger school groups to be brought to see this production. The delightfully old-fashioned language used by the children made the young audience giggle, and there was just the right amount of audience participation, never embarrassing just inclusive.
I was very pleased to see that two of the cast members Romy Clarkson (Phyllis) and Ben Banyard (Jim) are from local schools and both give great performances. They are sure to be an inspiration to any young audience members with dreams of going on the stage. This is a wonderful production and is ideal for a first theatre experience. I loved it and the ‘Oh, my Daddy’ line still brought a tear to my eye.
Review by Sally Knipe
THE RAILWAY CHILDREN MUSICAL
by Edith Nesbit adapted by Dave Simpson
with Music by Katherine Mount & Arrangements by Teresa Barlow
This version of the well-loved classic brings you a touch of magic. A heart-warming tale set to a stunning new soundtrack.
Tuesday 13th & Wednesday 14th November 10.30am
Thursday 15th to Saturday 17th November 7.30pm
(plus a 2.30pm matinee on Saturday)
6th to 24th November 2018
Telephone 01372 365141