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KING’S CROSS THEATRE
King’s Cross Theatre, Goods Way King’s Cross, N1C 4UR
0844 815 7121
£25.00-£49.50, with 25% off for Under 16s
1-Sep-16 to 8-Jan-17
2 hours 20 minutes (including an interval)
The Railway Children tells the story of Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis, three children whose lives change dramatically when their father is mysteriously taken away. They move from London to a cottage in rural Yorkshire with their mother, where they befriend the local railway porter, Perks, and embark on a magical journey of discovery, friendship and adventure. But the mystery remains – where is Father, and is he ever coming back?
A purpose built 1,000-seat theatre, complete with a railway track and platforms, and with a state of the art air conditioning and heating system, was specially created for this production on King's Boulevard, behind King's Cross Station, a site which has been loaned to the production for the duration of the run by Google. The York Theatre Royal production, which is in association with the National Railway Museum, features a live steam locomotive and a vintage carriage, originally built in 1896.
2016 marks the 110th anniversary of the publication of Edith Nesbit's much loved classic children's book The Railway Children, which has subsequently been adapted for the stage and screen, most famously in the 1970 film version starring Jenny Agutter.
Times and prices are subject to change. Contact venue before setting out.
A big, shiny, genuine steam train chugs into the middle of this show, and it's fantastic.
It's a long time since I've read this book or seen the film, which was good in that I had limited preconceptions. My daughter who has read the book four times in recent years, says the show is much less serious than the book. There is humour throughout, whether slapstick or in humorous asides to the audience and this went down well with my children (ages 11 and 9). The humour also lightens the pathos of the themes of poverty and absence, although interestingly enough my children did not find anything sad in the show, whereas I did.
The stage set is really great and very atmospheric. The audience is divided on to platforms 1 and two and between them runs the train track where all the action takes place. Expect lots of ‘steam', whistle blowing and comforting train station noises.
This is a temporary theatre, tucked away behind Kings Cross Station, under a canvas roof. The entrance is set up like a train station with old-fashioned signs to the waiting room and platforms. Lovely old railway posters on the walls and well-worn trunks and old style suitcases piled here and there. Before the show proper even starts, characters from the cast start wandering the platform and mingling with the audience - as I said, all very atmospheric.
Justin Fletcher was Mr Perks and very good, as you'd expect. In the breaks, he allowed a little bit of Mr Tumble to come out and balanced a broom on his chin, which the crowd loved. The three main children in the Railway Children, are actually played by adults, which initially jarred with me (though not for long), however this is something that did not bother my kids at all.
Visually this is really enjoyable and the story carries you along. The steam train with its lovely old compartments and hypnotic sounds invoked nostalgia for the ‘glamour' of the olden days, and it was very relaxing to spend a couple of hours being entertained in a station setting. Also when you arrive and leave, you see all the real trains at Kings Cross, which are not just theatre props, and this adds even more to the reality created on stage.
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