A David and Goliath scenario this fast tracked musical Arena Production of Starlight Express is making waves and collecting fans at every stop. Originally written to entertain the young children of Andrew Lloyd Webber over thirty years ago it is still enlightening and heart warming the world over…
With constant reminders of the economic crisis on our shoulders it was a welcomed relief to find myself down at Auckland’s premiere Vector Arena last Saturday for some light theatre entertainment. Starlight Express, the popular musical theatre show that ran in London for eighteen years and has toured numerous countries around the world is currently on the road in New Zealand. Unlike the original production where the theatre was specifically decked out for the cast to whiz through the audience and leap across bridges this revamped Arena production means the large and assumable costly sets have made way for 3-D films, minimalist but superb lighting design and a hidden orchestra. This by no means detracts from the entertainment value, instead it allows the audience to witness every trick and tumble that goes on during the 90 minute performance and keeps the viewer suitably glued.
Starlight Express, not a mind bending theatre experience, it simply offers a David and Goliath scenario of the underdog steam train ‘Rusty’ beating the odds against the more powerful and experienced diesel train ‘Greaseball’ and ‘Electra’ the electric train. The excitement IS however that the entire show is performed on roller skates. You never would know that this slick, fast and exhilarating show with its twenty four strong on stage cast, had some members with no skating ability only months earlier. Each performer confidently executes Arlene Phillips’ choreography and glides about with the greatest of ease, coupled with belting out some well recognized Andrew Lloyd Webber tunes (and making the words be understood) is no mean feat!
A visually spectacular show with catchy tunes and a fast paced storyline Starlight Express offers the odd laugh and audible collective audience sigh. This is a feel good show that leaves the viewer satisfied they’ve got more bang for their buck with the dazzling stunt skating and the odd stand-out performance to the clever use of film technology and humour that relates to parent or child alike. Notable mentions to the incomparable Mykal Rand as ‘Electra’ a veteran in this exciting role, Graham Harvey who very convincingly understudied ‘Greaseball’ and also to Kiwi talent Rebecca Wright who plays ‘Pearl’, love interest to ‘Rusty’.
One of several laugh out loud moments is the witty Country & Western parody ‘U.N.C.O.U.P.L.E.D.’, not to be outdone by familiar torch songs ‘Only You’ and ‘Starlight Express’.
Some musicals leave you bewildered, some musicals leave you feeling agitated, Starlight Express is neither of these things, it is quite simply a feel good musical theatre experience that will have you humming as you leave the theatre.
Thanks to Cimone from I.N.C. for covering the show for DanceLife.
I.N.C. Artist Management – Sydney is a boutique Talent Agency that represents Actors, Singers, Dancers and Choreographers across Television, Corporate, Film, Theatre and Musical Theatre within Australia and abroad. With clients numbering fewer than twenty it allows us to provide personal and tailored attention to each artist and equips I.N.C Artist Management – Sydney to guide our clients on a career path specific to their needs.

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