As promised, here is my report on the trip to Starlight Express at Milton Keynes theatre for the Saturday matinee.
As we arrived at the theatre we were handed our ‘Safety Glasses’. They were a bit of a concern – what was about to happen, and how would some flimsy cardboard and perspex protect our eyes? 🙂
When the performance began, the first thing that I noticed was that there was almost no noise at all from the roller skates – I think the floor was some kind of rubberised surface to cut down on noise. It’s hard to explain what the show/story was about really – lots of people on roller skates charging round and pretending to be engines, coaches, rolling stock, freight etc. It was either a child’s dream, or what the child’s trains get up to when he is asleep, but it was race night and the engines were competing to see who was champion. There was also the love interest/problem with one of the coaches (who were all girls) being torn between two of the engines (who were boys naturally). It was all very high energy with dynamic and exciting lighting. The music (played live by an orchestra we couldn’t see) was good, although I couldn’t always make out all the lyrics – they seemed to get lost in the volume of the accompaniment. The need for our ‘Safety Glasses’ became apparent when it was time for the engines to race each other. We were told to put our glasses on as a big screen came down on the stage and we saw the pre-filmed race in 3D, which was quite exciting with the odd bit of this or that flying out at us.
I enjoyed the show but I wouldn’t say it was the best show I have ever seen, although it was certainly different. I enjoyed the cleverness of the costumes and the skill of the skating. I imagine that seeing it in its original form in a purpose built theatre with race tracks coming out into the auditorium would certainly give it a ‘Wow’ factor.
I found this clip on YouTube.