Review: The Railway Children - Live at London Waterloo Station

A purpose built theatre is situated in the disused Eurostar terminal at Waterloo Station.
A nice sized foyer welcomes the audience, with a huge model railway getting lots of attention from all ages.
You walk up the travelators up to the main stage, and what a lovely scene you enter, the Olivier Award winning 'The Railway Children'.

Joanna Scotcher's looks fabulous, train tracks down the middle of the auditorium, tiered seating on platforms one and two, with pedestrian bridge linking the two sides of the set at one end, and a black tunnel past the gates at the other.
The soundtrack of voices and trains in the distance add to the feel of the play you are about to see.

The cast are excellent in this production, Marcus Brigstocke is great as Mr. Perks, getting t'Yorkshire accent down t'tea... Oooooakworth!
The three children are well cast, Amy Noble as Roberta, along with Tim Lewis as Peter, and a wonderfully charsismatic Grace Rowe as Phyllis, whose comedy and facial expressions are seamless.
The rest of the ensemble fit into place magnificently, showing great character and brilliant acting.

The thing that strikes me with this production is that it is simple theatre done incredibly well.
There is no automation in this show like most West End productions, instead, platforms are pulled and pushed along by the hard working crew dressed in railworkers costumes, you can see this happening in front of you, and it just adds to the feel of the play.
Christopher Madin's soundtrack adds to the feel of show, with a fine sound design by Craig Vear, making sure all the effects are heard no matter where you are seated along the platform.
Richard G Jones' lighting design finishes the whole effect off beautifully, with various smoke and lighting palettes working well together, it is beautiful to look at.

From start to finish, you are immersed in the world of the railway, and you actually forget you are sat in one of London's busiest stations.
Add to this the appearance of a fully working steam train and carriages, it is a fantastic moment of live theatre!

Directed by Damian Cruden, I can see why The Railway Children won this years Olivier Award for Best Entertainment.
This is one of the best pieces of theatre I have seen in a long time, and I highly recommend that you go and see it too.

The Railway Children is booking until 4th September 2011
Book tickets HERE