Review - The Railway Children at Northampton's Royal & Derngate

The Railway Children
The Railway Children

The Railway Children arrived at the Derngate stage in Northampton this week and treated its audience to a trip down memory lane.

The show starring Millie Turner, Katherine Carlton and Vinay Lad as the Waterbury children provided a wonderful evening of heartwarming nostalgia for anyone who read and loved E Nesbit’s book as a child.

The story follows the adventures of the Waterbury family, who move from a posh area in the London suburbs to a small home near the fictional Great Northern and Southern Railway in Yorkshire.

They are forced to relocate when their father is imprisoned after being wrongly accused of selling state secrets.

I have never read the book or even seen the famous Jenny Agutter film, so for me, it was not a nostalgic experience so much as a little glimpse into Edwardian rural life. It gave me a real insight into a wonderful time here children played outside, doctors visited you at home and above all, there was a fierce sense of kindness and community.

While I found the story pleasant, it took a while to get used to the children’s (played by adults) grating middle-class clipped British accents – which although echoed the voices of the actors in the original film, I think they could have got away with speaking like normal people!

My favourite character was the stationmaster and Yorkshireman Mr Perks, played by Stewart Wright, who faultlessly relayed the story while being part of it!

He delivered his lines with ease and soon had the entire audience wanting to be his pal!

However, the real star of the show was the breath-taking set! The amazing scenery featured a screen backdrop that showed various steam trains travelling towards the station. Along with clever lighting and sound, it really transported the audience into the heart of the quaint little railway town.

Whether you loved the books as a child or just fancy escaping into a world of wholesome charm for an evening The Railway Children makes for a nice, cozy family night out.

For tickets contact the box office on 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk for more details.