The Blue Apple Theatre Company present The Railway Children based on the book by Edith Nesbit performing at the Theatre Royal in Winchester from the 10th-12th January 2020.
The stage has been designed by Mark Pyke to depict a fully functional working railway station complete with a working carriage train, you just need to suspend your disbelief. The steam train sounds effects worked exceptionally well along with the bellows of steam pumped onto the stage for additional effects.
The small house that the family move to in Yorkshire is called the Three Chimneys which is depicted by a changing sign in the style of an old railway crossing sign. This can be seen at the far right of the stage. The signs change depending on where the cast is based at that particular point allowing the audience to follow their location as the scene changes are subtle.
In the usual style of Blue Apple, the entire cast are energetic, dedicated and in the final song every single member of the cast sings along waves at the audience and you can see and feel just how much enjoyment and enthusiasm that comes from every single member. It’s an absolute pleasure to support and watch them performing on stage.
Katie Appleford who plays Roberta also known as Bobby claims that she is the favourite child of three Railway Children. She is an extremely strong female lead character and looked very much set in the time period in her royal blue dress as seen in the photograph below.
Tom Hatchett who plays Mr Perks the stationmaster delivers some very funny one-liners throughout the performance his delivery and timing for comedy are brilliant. He is a strong articulate actor who delivers his lines with a lot of power and conviction he can be seen below carrying the lamp.
Sam Dace who plays the brother Peter and Katie Francis who plays the other sister Phyllis all work together as a group ensemble as the three siblings along with their mother played by Anna Brisbane. Their father is played by James Elsworthy who only really appears at the end of the production when he returns home.
Although James he can be seen in a screened dance section where he’s dancing with the dream spirit (Amy Britt) this particular section is extremely well filmed and choreographed and the couple moves together very smoothly.
The choreography by Amanda Watkinson and Direction led by Richard Conlon is likely to bring it’s own challenges to this production working with a large cast who all have their own individual style and requirements. However, once on stage it all comes together and Theatre magic happens.
I have the privilege of going to rehearsals and watching the work in progress and I see behind the scenes too. The work and dedication that the whole crew put into working with this company are fantastic. Along with the huge amount of dedication given by the whole cast.
After the performance had finished I heard a couple of members of the audience talking afterwards saying how the last song that the cast sang at the end of the production they were still singing now and they enthused about how much they thoroughly enjoyed the play. Therefore it is not only my opinion that this company is worth going to support but it’s coming first-hand from the members of the audience.
If you are not in a position to see this particular production look out for their future shows and go and see one of those, you won’t be disappointed.
Photography courtesy of Mike Hall.
For more information on the Blue Apple theatre company and their forthcoming Productions and past Productions please check out the website link below.
Check out the link below for The Railway Children on at the Theatre Royal until Sunday the 12th of January 2020