Saturday, 21 July 2012

Shhhh tickety, tickety dum


We have had the best evening in a long time. Weeks ago we saw adverts for a travelling open air production of The Railway Children to be performed by Heartbreak Productions at Wimpole Hall, our local National Trust house. I put off buying tickets, and thought I had made the right decision earlier in the week when the rain was sheeting down and parts of our village (including the school) flooded - which just Doesn't Happen in this part of East Anglia. My mood was as dark as the clouds overhead and frankly I just wanted to stay in bed and hide under the covers. The end of term school barbecue was postponed because nobody felt like sitting for three hours on a damp blanket shaking a fist at the sky and cursing.


But then today dawned bright and sunny and we decided that, blow it all, we were going to have an adventure. We packed a picnic. We set off early to Wimpole and joined a long queue and worried that we might not get in ... but we did. And oh, I am so glad we did.


I have strong memories of seeing the Railway Children on film as a child, and  I have read it to my children and played them the audio version on long summer car journeys but nothing comes close to the experience of seeing it on stage. The few glimpses I had of the audience on the other side of the station platform showed they were just as spellbound as we were. The set was astonishingly clever, the cast were funny and touching, and the audience joined in with making train noises, holding up bunting and at one point donating part of their picnics as presents for Mr Perks' birthday - my shy little girls jumping up eagerly to give away their chocolate swiss rolls with the rest.  As the night grew darker and the birds finally quietened down, the stage shone in the darkness of the garden while Bobbie uttered the heartbreaking "Oh, my Daddy, my Daddy!"; small children were clutched tightly in the arms of their parents and many of us could be spotted wiping away tears.


If the Heartbreak Productions tour comes anywhere near you I urge you to go along. If you were ever a child, and if you have even half a heart, you will have a magical evening.

16 comments:

  1. Glad you decided to go. Much more fun being adventurous than hiding under the duvet, non?

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  2. Sounds wonderful - I have a soft spot for the railway children. Must read the full version for the kiddies before they get too old and cynical.

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  3. That sounds a wonderful evening. It was the first film my mum took me to at the cinema as a child and remains to this day one of my favourite ever films. I think I know a lot of it off by heart, and I still always cry at the 'daddy, my daddy' bit. There a lovely old suitcase in wimpole hall house, covered in labels, that could tell wonderful stories, so a most apt setting :-)

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  4. Sounds fabulous! My DD's love the audio CD of the story, although we've never watched the film. What a magical sounding evening, though.

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  5. it is such a magical story isn't it. We saw it at the railway museum in York where they had converted one of the railway sheds into a theatre and the seats were all on the platform and they shunted in steam trains. lots of tissues needed!

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  6. Got all watery-eyed just reading this. Think I would cause another flood if I saw it live with my smalls...
    Ax

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  7. I love The Railway Children but I just can't watch it any more, I'm tearing up just thinking about it!

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  8. Oh, lucky you, I love open air theatre, ever since my parents took me to Scarborough to a production of The Desert Song when I was about 8. When we saw a Midsummer Night's Dream a couple of years ago it chucked it down but really the rain just added to the experience, with everyone sporting plastic ponchos which, fortunately, the cast were selling. (Also remember I managed to crash the car on the way home. Hey ho.)

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  9. That sounds like a really wonderful evening. I hope the rain has stayed away in your parts - it's beautiful here now, and the forecast is good for the whole week! x

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  10. I haven't been to Wimpole for years....hubby and I used to go walking there - before kids - that's how ages ago it was.

    You're definitely on for a Cambs picnic....if I can get my butt in gear and find a place to stay that coincides with the misters work - I will try very hard.

    Well the sun is shining and we are finally up 'oh how I love the Summer holiday' - have a fabulous day,

    Nina xxx

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  11. Wow -- it sounds like the most wonderful evening. Especially where it was interactive with the audience. Dry weather is coming in August LOL!

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  12. I have never seen the film or read the book - perhaps I should remedy this fact?

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  13. Glad you enjoyed The Railway Children. We went to London to see it and thought it was fantastic.

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  14. glad your weather let up and you could have such a lovely time.

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  15. Oh how I love The Railway Children, I've seen the film so many times and always cry. Sounds a magical way to see it, the Smalls will always remember it.

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  16. Saw this advertised when I was there at the weekend, sounds fantastic! Not actually familiar with the story but have heard great things! Glad that the weather worked out for you. :)

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