Saturday, May 7, 2016

May 7. Day 128. Well trained. Review. The Train Tea Society. Anywhere Festival

Maddison Kennedy-Tucker
The vision of some people is jaw dropping and matched only by their imagination. I mean, can you just imagine the look on the face of a stage manager when told that one of her jobs would be to cue a steam train? But here's the thing. No prop - no matter how steaming hot - will save an otherwise lacklustre production. It's no substitute for a sparkling script or talented cast. Which is what makes The Train Tea Society just so impressive. Yes, it's performed on the platform of the Swanbank Rail Station, yes a steam train rolls in on cue but it also has an amazing story to tell and a very talented cast to bring it to life. The Train Tea Society is based on a real group that operated in World War 1 in Ipswich providing comfort to the troops who travelled through the town. Their works were considered so significant a stained glass window was commissioned in their honour by an Australian general. The story the Flowers Theatre company has put together for the Anywhere Festival is fictional but it draws heavily on both the war effort of the women in Ipswich and in particular Mrs J. A. Eliza Cameron, the real life woman behind The Tea Train Society. It's charming, it's funny and it has the added advantage of bringing local stories and local people to life. It is little wonder the season is a sell out. It was certainly well worth the trip from Brisbane and the decision to make a day of it by packing a picnic was also well rewarded (even if the birds had more than their fair share).

The cast of the Train Tea Society after the production

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