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The Railway Children opens at Theatre by the Lake

Lucy Kilpatrick, Andy Daniel and Jennifer English in The Railway Children Photo: Theatre by the Lake

Not into pantomimes but fancy something the whole family will enjoy? Then this is the show for you.

If you're like me and wondering how on earth the director Ian Forrest and his team were going to pull of an adaptation of a book largely based around trains and a railway fear not.

The staging and acting works fabulously.

Andy Daniel, Jennifer English, Lucy Kilpatrick and the cast of The Railway Children Credit: Theatre by the Lake

I was a little disappointed that there weren't any trains on the stage just puffs of smoke to signal them arriving and leaving.

But, oh I don't want to spoil it, wait until the last scene, the famous scene with the red bloomers, right at the end of Act 1.

I didn't know how they would pull it off but it was splendid and the topic of conversation for the whole 20 minute interval.

Ben Ingles, Jennifer English, Claire Webzell, Lucy Kilpatrick and Andy Daniel in The Railway Children Credit: Theatre by the Lake

But what is really special about this play is the cast.

In particular, the dynamic between the three main characters Bobbi (Lucy Kilpatrick), Peter (Andy Daniels) and Phyllis (Jennifer English) was particularly believable.

Andy Daniels brought the same warmth and enthusiasm to this role as his did to The History Boys, Jennifer English played a the part of a small child fantastically well and Lucy Kilpatrick really brought the Bobbi I loved so much in the book to life.

They had the youthful energy needed to pull off playing children.

Peter Rylands and the junior chorus in The Railway Children Credit: Theatre by the Lake

They in turn were supported by a great team.

Matt Addis was a perfect sarcastic Perks, Peter Rylands as the Old Gentleman and Claire Webzell as their mother.

A number of local schoolchildren were involved in the production and were essential to filling the stage and help moving the plot forward.

Lucy Kilpatrick, Andy Daniel and Jennifer English in The Railway Children Credit: Theatre by the Lake

I'm not usually a fan of interaction with the audience but it really worked in this production.

You felt you were a friend to Bobbi, Peter and Phyllis. Part of their gang. So when Bobbi cries out: “Oh! My daddy, my daddy!” tears came to my eyes and warmth to the heart. Cliched? Maybe but as it is Christmas I really don't care. It was lovely.

9/10 Christmas joy