Newest Review: ... the story by Poppa, another old steam train who once won the race, and the Starlight Express, who is best described as a train in the... more
Nobody can do it like a steam train!
Member Name: AngelaR76
Advantages: Great fun for all the family!
Disadvantages: Should have been left at the Apollo Theatre
I first went to see Starlight Express on a school trip about 14 years ago, and ever since then it was my ambition to one day appear in the show! Of course that never happened but I have been back to see the show twice since then and thought I would share my experiences with you.
~ The Show ~
Starlight Express was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and opened in March 1984 at the Apollo Victoria in London. It eventually ran for 18 years before closing in January 2002, however the show still tours theatres across the country. It is the only West End production to be performed totally on rollerskates.
The show and it's songs have been revamped a number of times over the years but the main storyline remains the same. It is said that Andrew Lloyd Webber based it loosely on Cinderella, only with trains! The original set in the Apollo Victoria consisted of a stage with a skating bowl and also some race tracks that went around the outside of the theatre around the audience.
~ Main Characters ~
Rusty - A young steam train who doesn't get much respect from the other trains. He wishes he could enter the races and win to show them what he's made of.
Greaseball - A diesel train who looks and acts a lot like Elvis and fancies himself rather too much.
Electra - An electric train, "the Engine of the Future". Travels everywhere with his 5 component trucks and likes to "wow" everybody.
The Coaches - Pearl, Dinah, Ashley, Buffy and Belle.
The Freight Trains - Flat-Top, CB, Dustin, Rocky 1, 2 & 3.
Poppa - an ex-champion steam train.
~ Storyline ~
The main story line focuses on Rusty, a steam train with big dreams, but whom nobody takes seriously as they think he is slow and old fashioned.
Rusty falls in love with Pearl, the observation car, but when Rusty decides to enter the race, he asks Pearl to race with him and she turns him down. Instead she decides to race with late entry Electra. Rusty turns to Poppa, an ex-champion steam train who tells him about the "Starlight Express", a mythical midnight train who helps other trains in distress.
Rusty calls upon the Starlight Express to help him. Will he find the strength to stand up to the other trains and win the race? Will he get his girl in the end? You'll have to watch the show to find that out!
~ My Opinion ~
I think this show is great fun. Admittedly a lot of the music and lyrics are very cheesy and tongue in cheek but as long as you expect it to be like the you will have a great time.
It is a real shame that this show no longer has a permanent base at the Apollo Victoria. The theatre had built in race tracks and the actors performed each of the races live at every show. Obviously that isn't possible now that the show is on tour. To get around this problem a series of slightly bizarre 3D films have been recorded, one for each race. You get given 3D glasses to watch them with on arrival. This has definitely taken something away from the show, but that's not to say that it isn't worth seeing now. There is plenty more skating throughout the show.
I saw the show twice at the Apollo Victoria and then once last year in Birmingham. They have added a couple of new songs since I saw it in London which I didn't really like to be honest, and the one song I used to love has been taken out. I just think, if it's not broke don't fix it!
Electra's song is still the same and I think this is one of the most impressive moments of the show with regard to special effects, music and great costumes combined.
Despite a few niggles I still love this show and it is great fun for all the family, especially the kids. I would still go and see it again.
Summary: A fast and fun, if a bit cheesy, musical for all the family to enjoy.