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The Dulverton Players will be bringing the enchanting “Railway Children” to their Town Hall stage in early April.
This charming story by Edith Nesbit of an Edwardian childhood is best known from the famous 1970 film, but writer Mike Kenny has adapted it for the stage in an innovative and imaginative script which won an Olivier award.
Director Olga Owen always loved the film version, and was fascinated by the way the stage narrative tells the story through the characters as adults looking back on their childhood experiences in the Yorkshire village of Oakford.
The family of two girls, a boy, and their mother has been left impoverished by the imprisonment for spying of its father, a senior government official. Their new home, the dilapidated “Three Chimneys”, seems a sad contrast to their luxurious London life until the children discover the delights of the railway line which runs close to their cottage.
Olga Owen has been relishing the challenge of mounting three scenes on stage simultaneously with just one set. Fortunately she can rely on the talents of the Players’ most experienced actors. Tamsin Blackmore, Suzy Wall, and Julian Soltau play the children with Banger Milton as their mother.
Also, of course, if there is a railway, there must be a train. The climactic scene is when the children must stop the London express before it crashes into a landslide.
The director is giving nothing away about how a Victorian steam engine will fit onto the stage, but a year ago the technical crew had Peter Pan magically flying over the familiar roofs of Dulverton. A crashing locomotive should be child’s play.


Clockwise from top left, Suzy Wall plays Phyllis, Banger Milton plays Mother, Julian Soltau plays Peter, and Tamsin Blackmore plays Bobby.

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Dulverton on Exmoor.

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