Finding presentations in this day and age that will not only bring families together but entertain adults as well as children, is a difficult task. As a matter of fact, It seems today that bringing the family together to watch anything, whether on television or on disc, is next to impossible. Finding something that will entertain the whole family at the same time is just as much of a feat. That being the case, Film Movement has potentially done the impossible with its soon to be released theatrical adaptation of author E. Nesbit’s beloved children’s book The Railway Children. Originally released on DVD overseas in 2016 from the York Theatre Royal’s stage adaptation, that presentation is scheduled to make its domestic debut April 3 via Film Movement. There is plenty to like about this presentation beginning with the story at the tale’s center. This will be discussed shortly. The presentation put on by the play’s cast does its own part to make this presentation enjoyable. It will be discussed later. The play’s production values (most notably its audio and cinematography) play their own collective role in the play’s presentation, too. Of course, there is one extra surprise connected to those values that will be discussed along with them. That item, along with the noted production items, the cast’s work and the story itself are each important in their own way to the whole of this presentation. All things considered, this domestic debut of The Railway Children‘s 2016 stage play proves to be a wonderful presentation for the whole family regardless of families’ familiarity with the story.
Independent movie studio Film Movement’s forthcoming domestic DVD debut of the 2016 stage adaptation of author E. Nesbit’s book The Railway Children is a miracle of a presentation. It is a work that is certain to not only bring families together, but also to entertain the whole family. That is a telling statement. It proves to be such a powerfully entertaining presentation in part through its central story. The story follows three children — Bobbie (Roberta), Phyllis and Peter — as they move from their opulent life to the Yorkshire countryside after their father is wrongly imprisoned on accusations of spying against the British. the story takes place around the time of World War I. There is an obvious statement made at one point against certain governmental styles when the children help a French-speaking Russian refugee who is searching for his wife and daughter. This critic will admit to having never read Nesbit’s original book. However, the addition of that statement to the story is something that will reach most older audiences and generate its own share of discussion among said audiences. It’s a statement that sadly is just as relevant today as it would have been in the time of the story. That’s because there are regimes around the world that would — and do — jail people for speaking their minds even today. Getting back on the subject at hand, the children’s story, that follows their daily activities as they wait for their father’s return is accessible for adults and children because it is told by the children. Speaking of this presentation, the telling of the story by the children plays into their overall performance, another important part of the play’s presentation.
The cast’s presentation of the story is so important to discuss because it does so much to pull audiences into the story as the story itself. The cast — Rosalind Lailey (Bobbie), Beth Lilly (Phyllis) and Izaak Cainer (Peter) — tell the story to the audience while at the same time acting out the scenes. That balance of breaking down the fourth wall while also putting on a performance in each scene is to be commended. That is because the cast so easily moves back and forth between the two scenarios that somehow audiences are still able to maintain suspension of disbelief. It truly pulls audiences that much more into the story. It’s an enjoyable, unique approach. Staying on that note, Lailey, Lilly and Cainer are deserving of their credit for their work, not just the way in which they balance fantasy and reality. Lailey truly makes Bobbie a sympathetic character as she prays for the return of the children’s father. Her reaction when she reads in the newspaper that their father had been foudn guilty of spying (not to give away too much here) is such a painful moment. That is meant in a positive way. Lailey really makes audiences feel for Bobbie in this moment. At the same time, Bobbie’s more joyful moments such as when the Russian leans he will be reunited with his family (again, not to give away too much), will put a smile on anyone’s face. Cainer and Lilly are just as entertaining as they support Lailey. Cainer’s take on Peter offers its share of laughs. One of his best moments comes as he has to handle Bobbie thinking Peter was giving his locomotive to her. It’s a slightly emotional moment, but funny, too. It’s funny because so many audiences can relate to such a sibling scenario. Even Lilly offers her own entertainment as she breaks that fourth wall right before the play’s intermission, staying in character the whole time as she tells the audiences it was a good time to take a break. It’s a minor moment, but adds so much just because she stays in character even there. For those who might be worried, the intermission is omitted here, replaced expertly by a fade out and fade in at the intermission’s start and end respectively. Keeping all of this in mind, it becomes clear why the work of the play’s cast is so important to its overall presentation. One would be remiss to ignore the part played by the rest of the supporting cast here. The supporting cast does just as much in its time on stage as the primary cast. Again, their addition to the play shows even more why the cast’s work is so important in keeping audiences engaged and entertained. All things considered here, the work of the cast is without argument, critical to the enjoyment of this play, even on screen. When it is coupled with the story itself, the two elements go a very long way toward making this presentation worth the watch. It still is not the last of the presentation’s most important elements. The production values round out its most important elements.
Considering that this plays was presented in a railway museum’s theater, audio and video were of critical importance. The cast didn’t seem to be wearing mics at any time here. If they were, then those behind the scenes are to be commended for having made them invisible to the naked eye. Regardless of mic or no, those behind the scenes are still to be commended for their work in making the sound audible for home viewers. The manner in which the cast delivers its lines — thanks to those individuals’ work — makes watching this play on screen feel almost as if one is there in person watching from some VIP box. The addition of the equally expert directing and cinematography gives home viewers the best seat in the house as so many angles are used throughout the play. Those who attended the play in person had a very limited range of vision, so having so many angles provides an even fuller experience for home viewers. It makes watching the play here on DVD even better than being there in person. That is not to say that being there likely wasn’t enjoyable in its own right. That should not be misinterpreted here. Rather, it enhances the experience that much more, and together with the solid audio engineering, makes the experience, in terms of production, completely enjoyable. Add in the inclusion of an actual engine — the same engine used in the book’s 1970 cinematic adaptation no less — and the experience becomes even more enthralling. Seeing that engine enter the theater as part of the story is just something special — again — even on screen. It adds so much with those minute appearances. Keeping all of this in mind, it should be obvious by now why the production values of The Railway Children are just as critical to its presentation as the work of the play’s cast and the play’s story. When all three elements are joined, they prove without any doubt that The Railway Children is a work that the entire family will enjoy.
Film Movement’s upcoming domestic home release of The Railway Children on stage is a work that is a must see for any and every family. That is due in no small part to the family friendly story, which touts the positives of kindness, friendship and devotion to family. The cast’s work on stage is just as important to the play’s presentation. Both the main and supporting cast offer plenty to appreciate here, as has been noted. The play’s production values are also key to its presentation. They make the viewing experience just as good, if not better than, being there. Each element is critical in its own way to making this presentation so enjoyable. All things considered, they make this domestic release of The Railway Children on stage a work that, again, the entire family will enjoy. It will be available in stores and online April 3. More information on this presentation of The Railway Children is available online now at:
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