The Railway Children, Waterloo Station Theatre, London
Wednesday 14 July 2010
You might wander on to Waterloo Station looking for the next train to Woking and find yourself hurtling back in time to an Edwardian country station in Yorkshire, with three children in petticoats and a tweed suit waving at an Old Gentleman on the "down" train back to the capital. And instead of boarding a modern commuter diesel, you can fantasise once more about Jenny Agutter as the teenage nearly-woman and Bernard Cribbins as the station master, stepping their way through a north-and-south class minefield in the 1970 movie.
Meanwhile, the music surges on the soundtrack, and a 66-tonne, bottle-green, gleaming locomotive, the Stirling Single, puffs magnificently into view along the abandoned Eurostar tracks.
Mike Kenny's stage adaptation gives you E Nesbit's story of a displaced suburban family finding their feet while Dad languishes in penal servitude on a trumped-up spying charge. But it's J M Barrie's Peter Pan, written two years before Nesbit's 1906 classic, that must have clinched the story.
Sarah Quintrell's eager missie Roberta is a Wendy figure and the prevention of the railway disaster, the encounter with the fugitive Russian writer, and the rescue of the injured boy in the tunnel, all smack of Neverland adventures.
You descend to the old Eurostar departure lounge, then walk up the boarding ramps to the closed-off stage area, about one hundred yards long, with the audience seated either side of the tracks. But the ghostliness of the venue is a bit depressing, enhanced on opening night by a wayward Eurostar alarm and announcement going off, and there's not really enough charm or joy in the acting to overcome this handicap. I loved William Mervyn as the Old Gent in the film; David Baron – the name Harold Pinter used as an actor – is not nearly jolly enough; but then, neither was Harold.
To 4 September (0871 297 0740)
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors: 'I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK'
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Photographer Matt Lankes' portraits of the cast of Boyhood influenced the film's storyline
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners