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The Railway Children
Perfectly Urban Family
music & lyrics by Stephen Kingsbury

Click here to see 'Perfectly Urban Family' in the Vocal Score in a new window
 
Father Look at my family
You could say I am a very lucky man
Three precious children
And a loving wife
A happy little clan

But nothing this perfect lasts forever
How can it?
Let us enjoy each moment while we can
 

Children Welcome home, father!
The greatest father in the world is really ours
Hurry up, father!
We've been waiting here so patiently for hours

 
All Now we are all together
With a party to enjoy:
Many happy returns to Peter, birthday boy!

 
Peter Did you get it? Did you get it?
 
Father Get what?
 
Peter My present! Oh, father tell me you did!
 
Father Present? Is it some sort of occasion today?
 
Bobbie Daddy!
 
Mother Come come, don’t tease him so. (To Peter) He knows perfectly well what the occasion is.
 
Phyllis Yes, don’t tease him daddy, it’s a positively rotten thing to do.
 
Father Well, well, that’s told me! As it so happens, there may be a little something for you in here…
 

He roots around in his briefcase, pretending it’s nowhere to be found.
 

Father

Hmmm, I could have sworn there was something I was supposed to bring…
 

Bobbie Daddy, stop it!
 
Phyllis Oh daddy – hurry up, hurry up
 
Father Ah ha!
 

He pulls out a package, tightly wrapped in brown paper – Peter is jumping up and down with excitement.
 

Peter

You got it! You really got it!
 

Phyllis Steady on, you haven’t opened it yet, it could be a pound of dripping.
 
Father is holding the package aloft and Peter jumps to try and reach it.
 
Bobbie

Oh, don’t be so nasty Phyllis. Daddy! Put him out of his misery.
 

Father

Very well. (He hands Peter the package) Now you take good care of this, we had to search high and low to find one as realistic as this.
 

Peter rips off the paper, and triumphantly holds aloft a pristine model steam engine.
 
Peter Yes! You got it, you got it! Oh thank you father, and mother of course! It's perfect…simply…perfect!
 
Peter It really is perfect
This little miracle in miniature of mine
Phyllis won't notice
If I place her dolly Polly on the line!
 
Phyllis shrieks as Peter aims his train directly at her trapped dolly.
 
Phyllis Peter! Mummy, stop him! Peter, you'll hurt her!
 
Phyllis leaps at Peter, but Bobbie pulls them apart.
 
Father Now, now you two, let's not ruin a perfectly lovely day by fighting.
 
Phyllis It was his fault! His silly train could have killed her.
 
Peter She shouldn't have been walking on the line!
 
Father (jovially) That's enough! I've waited all day to celebrate, and I won‟t have petty bickering spoil it…
 
All We're a perfectly urban family
All is fine!
 
Peter Let's give it some speed - stand back, I'm really going to open her up!
 
Peter places the train on the line - it shoots off but suddenly derails - its whistle sounds, seemingly jammed open.
 
Peter Oh no!
 
Father Whatever's happened here?
 
The whistle continues to sound. It is joined by the sound of a door bell. Father picks up the engine and gives it a smack with his palm. The whistling stops, but the bell continues.
 
Father Who on earth? An Englishman's house is his castle, of course, but I do wish they built semi-detached villas with moats and drawbridges.
 
Father Who on earth calls at this hour?
Who knocks on doors so late?
 
Mother It's nearly the children's bedtime
Couldn't these callers wait?
 
Father Maybe it's just the vicar
Calling with his cap in hand
 
Mother & Children Won't you see to it quickly, father, if you can?
 
Father crosses downstage left and is met by two men in semi darkness. Mother stares intently at the three from her place in the house.
 
Gentleman We have information
From a trusted lead
A major allegation
Serious indeed, sir
 
Bobbie notices her mother and moves away from the other children, standing alone downstage. Father and the two men continue conversing under the following:
 
Mother What is going on here?
Something isn't right
I've never seen his face quiet so
Terrified and white
 
Mother & Bobbie Nothing good will come of this
Is this the end of our perfectly urban life?
 
Gentlemen We have information
A major allegation
Serious indeed, sir...
 
Father turns and looks at his family.
 
Father Look at my family
You could say I am a very lucky man
Three lovely children and a loving wife
A happy little clan
But nothing this perfect lasts forever
How can it?