Audience on track for some surprises at play
AUDIENCE members may get more than they bargained for at a forthcoming production of The Railway Children.
Members of the Western College Players, who rehearse at St Paul's Church in Efford, are preparing to take to the stage of the Drum Theatre for their modern version of the classic play from January 22 to 26. Many people will remember the classic 1970 film starring Bernard Cribbins and Jenny Agutter, but director Gareth Roberts is promising to put a modern spin on the tale – with a bit of audience interaction thrown in for good measure.
Mr Roberts said: "The characters go into the audience and the audience are involved all the way through.
"We don't know how they are going to react to certain things but it makes it more exciting and fresh for the actors as well as the audience. It keeps them on their toes."
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The Western College Players is the longest-surviving amateur theatre company in Plymouth, having been around for 83 years.
The Railway Children features 25 actors and a complex set which promises to delight and entertain audience members.
Mr Roberts said: "It is a very complicated play and I don't think it will be entirely clear until we get into the theatre.
"It's definitely going to be quite a challenge, but the cast are enjoying it.
"We have talked about doing The Railway Children for quite some time, but this script did it for us. We had never read anything like it before.
"A lot of people remember the 1970 film. I think that's the one most people know.
"I think they will find it's a bit different from that version but there's still everything in it that they will remember."
The Western College Players rehearse at St Paul's Church in Efford on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The group also runs an active social diary with frequent events such as quiz nights and skittles evenings.
Following The Railway Children, the group's next production will be An Appointment with Death, by Agatha Christie, at the Devonport Playhouse in August.
The Herald's Roger Malone goes behind the scenes at rehearsals: see tomorrow's What's On section.