The Railway Children tells the story of Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis, three children whose lives change dramatically when their father is mysteriously taken away. They move from London to a cottage in rural Yorkshire with their mother, where they befriend the local railway porter, Perks, and embark on a magical journey of discovery, friendship and adventure. But the mystery remains – where is Father, and is he ever coming back?
This highly imaginative stage production of E. Nesbit’s 1905 classic children’s book, which has seen several adaptations over time, is directed for the screen by the Emmy award winning Ross MacGibbon and was filmed at the National Railway Museum in York, England, showcasing the original locomotive from the greatly esteemed British movie of the 1970s. This fast-paced and innovative stage production with moving platforms, props, and rail carts is captured by seven cameras that highlight its uniqueness. York Theatre Royal has toured this production around the world to massive critical acclaim.The story is told in a unique manner as the 3 teen children reminisce about a time they considered themselves to be The Railway Children. The impressive stage itself is almost a character in the production as it appears to be an actual railway platform designed from gleaming, eye-catching wood with center pieces that move along actual train tracks. These gliding blocks are pushed along by players, and serve to transition the outstanding actors from seeming physical locations as well as through time. They are all also constantly moving about as a result of impressive stage direction, utilizing every square inch of the platform in a way that drives the story along. Moreover, the narrative jumps from present to past as the children communicate, from time to time, by narrating directly to the audience who are seated on either sides of the platform. They then act out portions of the story they have just introduced through narration, and the story plays out in this manner. Though this production does not entice in the same way an action packed film might (being rooted in the Victorian era and displaying many of the common perspectives on women, while addressing social and political issues of the time, including poverty), the story is rich with suspense and intrigue. There is some mild violence where a maid slaps a boy; the disturbing and life altering disappearance of the father occurs; and a grave illness is endured by the mother, but the children’s resilience, graciousness, and growth in the face of trauma and misfortune is engaging and inspiring. The depth of rewards to all through mercy and kindness is a main theme and lesson that is learned, especially by the children, and is likewise entertaining and rewarding for the viewer. We are proud to award this movie the Dove approved seal for all ages.