Thursday, April 18, 2024

Thurrock Students Star At Edinburgh Festival

By Grant W Campbell

FOUR THURROCK actresses have taken their first steps in a professional performance by appearing in a performance of The Railway Children at the Edinburgh Festival.

The festival is the biggest arts festival in the world and the four students: Chloe Huckle, Charlotte Sams, Connie Lynn Jones and Olivia Martin have been highly praised for their performances in the production at the George Square Theatre.

Last Saturday, YourThurrock reporter Grant W Campbell went to the matinee performance.

“Sell a Door Theatre Company, now a well know and much respected fixture at the Edinburgh Festival has presented a faithful but dynamic rendition of E. Nesbit’s well-loved tale (The Railway Children) detailing Mrs Waterbury and her three children’s forced to move the country.

Most people fondly remember the pantaloon festooned film version starring Jenny Agutter that included the quaint gentilities of plumb accents and good manners in addressing the locals.

The production was swift (less than one hour long) but did not compromise the story. Indeed, the method of narration (Mr Perks, excellently played by Stephen Barden) and enthusiasm of the actors compelled the audience, including the wide-eyed children in the front row, to engage in the show for the whole hour.

The troupe members were full of enthusiasm and zeal and translated some taut direction into a vivid and believable rendition of what Nesbit intended.

Indeed for children this version is one that should not be missed as it is better than any film and distinctly more believable.

The Director (David Hutchison) played a masterstroke in obtaining the services of a group of highly talented actors who, one suspects, will in due course become regular faces in theatre and beyond.

Certainly Chloe Huckle (playing eldest daughter Roberta) has an exhuberant talent that hopefully will never be repressed.

In the biggest arts festival in the world, you need your unique selling point (USP). In this show, the producers went around the corner to the Royal Mile every day and selected to play Jim, the young injured boy, eventually rescued from the rails.

The relocation of a strong Scottish brogue into a Yorkshire setting was clever and says much about the positive thinking of the director in involving the public at large in such a well crafted production.

“Such risks do not always work but the Edinburgh Festival is often a place where careers and reputations are made or enhanced. On this occasion both aspects readily apply and the production, which is a guide to what professional theatre can give, is all the better for it”.

Written by Dave Simpson
Director…David Hutchinson
Lighting…Chris Auckett

Roberta…Chloe Huckle / Charlotte Sams
Phyllis…..Connie Lynn Jones / Olivia Martin
Peter……Scott Weston
John…….Chris Thorpe
Mr Perks…Stephen Barden
Mrs Perks…Felicity Jackson
Mrs Walker…Ami Scrivener
Mr Szczepanksy…Carl Vorwerk
Father/Superintendant…David Ellis
Dr Forrest…….David Hutchinson
Mother………..Janine Robins
Old Gentleman….Cassells Macdonald


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