The Railway Children

The Railway Children
By Edith Nesbit, adapted by Mike Kenny. Harbour Theatre Directed by Jane Sherwood. Camelot Theatre, Mosman Park, WA. Dec 1-10, 2017

Edith Nesbit’s The Railway Children, as adapted by Mike Kenny, is a family friendly classic brought lovingly to the stage by Harbour Theatre.

The trio of title characters narrate their own story between episodes of action, in a beautiful retelling that is loyal to the novel. A demanding show for these three, who work organically together and create a tangible sibling relationship. Nikki D. Camillo has lovely warmth as Bobbie, Liam Crevola beautifully captures a young boy trying to be a man, and Kaitlin Okely, who at 24, loses at least a decade on stage, is an audience favourite and comic delight as Phyllis. 

Carmen Dohle is gentle and sweet as Mother (lovely to see her return to the stage), while Sam Rodwell establishes himself quickly as father - and his character’s absence throughout the show is felt.

Jarrod Buttery beautifully re-establishes his childhood accent as Yorkshireman Mr Perks, one of my favourite of his roles to date, while Em Rose is loveable as his wife. Lakeesha and Charlie Motbey play their children nicely.

Jim Davies was a picture perfect Old Gentleman, and I was surprised to learn that this was his theatrical debut - nice work. Gavin Ward makes a return to the stage after 30 years to play Mr Szepansky - delivering Russian and French dialogue convincingly.

I enjoyed the cameo from James Matthews as Jim, while Ann Speicher made the most of her brief appearances. lovely ensemble work from Matt Ibbitson, Freya Prall, Alexis Mercer, Julie Mackay and Briana Amos.

The set, designed by director Jane Sherwood, nicely served a variety of locations, and included a bridge, rail tunnel and a station - all beautifully suggested. The trains are created imaginatively and effectively. The costumes created the era nicely and served the production well.

Jane Sherwood’s lighting design was effective as was the sound design from Vanessa Gudgeon.

Outstanding storytelling in this show, which has appeal for all ages. A feel-good show that is a wonderful way to end the year.

Kimberley Shaw

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.