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The Railway Children

A Musical – performed by The Wantage Stage Musical Company

Performance date: Saturday 14th May – 2.30 pm at The King Alfred’s Centre, Wantage

One word for this production – FABULOUS – this show was definitely ‘on track’, with ‘whistle-stopping’ entertainment from start to finish.

Reading through the programme, prior to the commencement of the show, I found it to be well presented, informative and attractive in its appearance.  A colourful memento of the production.  Excellent work from Mike Davies.

The stage had been cleverly divided to give 3 scenes of ‘action’, with definitive lighting for each scene in turn.  The change from the London House to the Country was a credit to the set designer/s

Mr Perks, played by Andy Thomas, started us off on our wonderful journey, He was strong in character with a very pleasant singing voice.  His portrayal of Perks throughout was very believable -an excellent performance

The Christmas celebrations of the Family home, with delightful singing by them all plus a very tuneful chorus were roughly bought to an end when Father was arrested by the Police and imprisoned wrongly, we discovered later in the play, for treason!!   The entry of the carol singers through the audience was a lovely touch – very effective.

Mother, played by Sian Millett, with suitable stiff Victorian backbone took herself and the Children to live in the Country. Sian played her role to perfection, with a most beautiful singing voice.  One or two of her songs were very poignant.  Well done.

The ChildrenPeter, played by Seb Allum.  This young man WILL go far in the acting world – a first class performance, and a joy to watch.

Phyllis, played by Sarah Fell.  In her own words ‘you are a darling’.  She was just that -‘a darling’.

Bobbie, played by Jessica Joy Dancy.  What a star! – a solid acting performance topped with a clear bright singing voice.  Lovely.

The servants, doubling up as Mr Perks family, and a news seller all gave sound performances – the Posh Talk number was particularly well executed and choreographed. Thank you Charlotte, Katie and Christina.

All the passengers at the Station and all the other Characters, again doubling up as Chorus, acted and sang their hearts out – so good to see everyone so immersed in their role/s.

Even the Engine Driver was suitably grimy.

Father/Szcepansky, played by Mike Davies, was very convincing in both his roles.  As Szepansky, his Russian sounded feasible – his joy at ‘finding’ his family again was a happy moment for all of us.  When he returned to his Family, and Bobbie cried out – “Daddy! Oh my Daddy!” there was not a dry eye in the house! So touching, so poignant

Jim, played by Chaz Hart, doubling up as a Chorus member, made me wince when it was discovered his leg was broken.  Great piece of acting there

The Old Gentleman, played by Michael Hurd – what a lovely old Gentleman and a bit of an Angel Gabriel too!  

Nearly forgot – the train emerging from the tunnel, complete with steam, a brilliant piece of technology. Well done.

The final song - A Once in a Lifetime Day - was a very fitting finale number for this fabulous show.

Thanks to the Band for their music making, to the Wardrobe team for their wonderful costumes, the

Directors, and everyone one else involved in this highly entertaining show.  Amateurs not on your life!

A truly professional show – polished and perfect.

Jenny Shepherd              

Oxfordshire Drama Network: May 14th 2011