Steaming into local cinemas on Easter Monday is The Railway Children, a film of York Theatre Royal’s Olivier award-winning production performed last summer at the National Railway Museum in Yorkshire.
The film captures Mike Kenny and Damian Cruden’s imaginative stage adaptation of E Nesbit’s cherished novel on its return to its Yorkshire roots, and features the original locomotive from the much-loved original 1970 film.
The Railway Children follows the story of Roberta (Bobbie), Peter and Phyllis, three sheltered siblings who suffer a huge upheaval when their father, who works for the Foreign Office, is taken away from their London home and (falsely) imprisoned.
The children and their mother, now penniless, are forced to move from London to rural Yorkshire, near a railway line. The story deals with themes of justice, the importance of family and the kindness of strangers.
“It’s phenomenally contemporary when you read it,” says writer Mike Kenny, who first adapted The Railway Children for York Theatre Royal in 2008. “It has the wrongful arrest, the selling of state secrets. There’s a mother taking the children a long way away, and not communicating with them about it. The children end up building relationships with people they’d normally never have met, so there’s an interesting class tension there.”
Filmed with seven cameras by an expert team, who navigate the unique staging including moving platforms, props and rail carts, the film captures every moment of the fast-paced production.
Ross MacGibbon, the director, said: “This captivating production, steeped in nostalgia, is filled with moments of despair, joy, kindness and hope.
“I think audiences of all ages will respond to its family drama, timeless characters and their individual stories.”
Details of the screenings at Lynn, Fakenham and Wisbech are given in the Lynn News weekly cinema listings.