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Put Those Trains Away?!
Member Name: lily7star
Date: 08/07/00, updated on 20/02/01 (243 review reads)
Advantages: Bright, action packed, fun, catchy songs
Disadvantages: Don't expect much of a storyline.
Having been meaning to take the kids for ages, we finally managed it one half term last year. It's incredibly easy to access the theatre by train as the Apollo is just across the road from Victoria Station. Go up a bit early and wander along to see Buckingham Palace, or do some serious people watching in St James' Park.
There is a Pizza Hut almost next door to the theatre so treat them to stuffed crust and refillable coke before you take your seats(or non-refillable coke depending on bladder capacity!)
We bought top tickets in the stalls for £15 each through lastminute.com, which was less than half price. These reduced tickets are usually available for weekday evening shows - if they're not immediately showing as available on the site, do a search. Matinees are also a lot cheaper so I haven't seen these reduced.
Based around the story of a collection of engines and their rolling stock (yes, really!), the show is nothing less than spectacular. Yes, very 80's and with a storyline that genuinely will not challenge a 5 yr old, but an unimaginably action-packed and exciting show which tells a story of the perennial battle between right and wrong, the old and the new, and throws in the question of true love for good measure.
The costumes are fantastic and unlike anything else you're ever likely to see. Bright, clever and colourful, they're going to get your attention and that of your kids before anyone even opens their mouth to sing!
The singing is superb. Wonderful upbeat tracks (excuse the pun!) with catchy lyrics and tunes as well as some slower and more romantic numbers. The cast we heard on our visit were outstanding, and although I am a critical listener to vocals, I'd rate them as faultless as well as powerful and moving.
My kids *loved* it. They were 12,11 and 9 and have been begging me to take them back to see it all again. We bought the CD and listened and sang along to the so
undtrack for the next month after this visit! Writing this review makes me determined to dig that CD out again as the kids borrowed it and have mislaid it somewhere around the house.
The performers whizz around the audience on a track and can be followed on a large screen when they're out of sight of where you are sitting, so in practice it doesn't matter *too* much where you are. They were excellent and have to command respect for their ability to sing and rollerskate at the same time without sacrificing vocal or visual quality.
There are catchy songs, lots of lights and enough action to make this arguably one of the best shows to take kids to, and it was one I also enjoyed very much.
The only downer? Having our train cancelled and waiting for an hour until nearly midnight on a cold Clapham Junction platform.