MHLC-03-10-22-Railway Children Talisman-CEN
The Railway Children is a popular and well-known story. The first stage production took place at the National Railway Museum in York with real steam engines; translating it onto the stage of a small local theatre could prove testing.
But the Talisman rose to the challenge magnificently. Director Steve Smith marshalled an excellent multi-age cast superbly.
All the cast were word-perfect in this very clever production. Having the children Bobby (Leigh Walker), Peter (Jack Ives) and Phyllis (Fay Staton) talking to the audience as they reminisced about their adventures that summer was totally unexpected yet worked perfectly. There was humour, particularly from Fay, whose comic timing, engagement with the audience and portrayal of Phyllis was excellent.
The script was wonderful and moved the narrative along at the right tempo. The supporting cast of children brought pace and fun to the story. Leigh also engaged especially well with the audience and conveyed the child trying to be an adult to support her mother and siblings. This role really demonstrated her talents and she will hopefully be cast again in other roles soon.
Set designer Wendy Morris was remarkably astute in using a simple stage with slightly raised platforms to represent different places, and smoke and recorded sounds for the trains until the last scene
The Talisman scored 11 out of 10 with this because, firstly, it was a really feel-good production. With the situation in the country as it is currently, it was indeed a performance for such a time as this – one of the messages was “there is always hope”, something that many people need to hold on to at the moment. But, secondly, there were young children in the audience and it is an ideal play for children to get a taste of theatre.
Not for the first time, hats off to The Talisman.
Visit talismantheatre.co.uk or call 01926 856548 to book.