In the fading light of another school year, keeping the children up late on a Sunday night is probably a risk worth taking for an opportunity to enjoy some quality family time away from ‘the box’.
Heartbreak Open Air Productions are becoming a pleasingly regular feature of summer in Halifax and this year give us their own unique take on a much loved classic of children’s literature.
The Railway Children represents a time when childhood was much simpler than today and documents a summer of adventures and discoveries with not an electronic toy or gaming device in sight.
In deference, director Peter Mammick has created an imaginative production in which the youngest members of the audience are encouraged to participate and ‘play trains’ – literally, and adults provide evocative sound effects from the world of steam.
In true Heartbreak style, the story is brought to us by a group of railway workers, including the adult Bobby of the story, attempting to entertain passengers waiting for a heavily delayed train: a better prospect than waiting on a cold platform with over-priced weak coffee!
The cast of five play all the characters, Andrew Cullum taking on an impressive ten roles, and use a cleverly designed yet simple set to create the world of the Waterberry children, props are versatile and well used in a way reminiscent of the way children play.
The production stayed true to the simplistic charm of the original, social problems and issues alluded to but not dwelt upon with the famous “Oh my Daddy” provoking a few damp eyes. And it didn’t rain!
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