THE RAILWAY CHILDREN
|Date||28th March 2015|
|Society||Ballywillan Drama Group|
|Venue||Riverside Theatre, Coleraine|
Author: Sheelagh Hobart
The set was a delightful country Railway Station and all that was needed thereafter was our imagination. Suitcases and wicker baskets became tables, quickly transformed and set by an efficient Props team clad as station porters. Costumes were fresh and authentic; shown to advantage by excellent lighting. Sound was clear and sound effects always on time.
The story was told as the reminiscences of the grown-up ‘Railway Children’, and they slotted back into the action as themselves, when children. Bobbie/Roberta (Victoria Lagan), Phyllis (Kelly-Ann McKillen) and Peter (Colin McClarty) were totally convincing as children of the early 1900s and moved about swiftly and precisely to indicate scene changes. Their Mother was played by Maelisa Cunning with sensitivity and elegance. Alan McClarty played Perks, the Station Master with good humour and old-fashioned charm. His stage family were all delightful, headed by Maxine McAleenon as his long-suffering wife. Maxine also played a rather haughty maid, in early scenes. Tom Waddell took three roles – the Butler; a Railway worker and Mr Sczepansky, a Russian exile. He mastered a convincing Russian accent for the latter. Kent Bolton, as the Old Gentleman, had the gravitas to be exactly as the story describes – kind and reliable. Both Father and the Doctor were played by Richard Mairs – short and serious roles, the former providing the happy ending to the play. Small roles all added greatly to the ambience of the piece.
In London, real steam engines have recently had starring roles in The Railway Children, but with our imaginations fired by the tunnel on stage and prop Engine moving forward with hissing steam, Director Brian Logan really brought the heart-warming story to life.