The popular musical, Starlight Express, is currently showing at BIC Windsor Hall at Bournemouth, UK. Andrew Lloyd Webber has provided the music, Richard Stilgoe has written the lyrics and Arlene Phillips is charge of choreography of this longest running theatrical production that is back on stage to enthrall audiences. The story is a futuristic adaptation of a child’s dream wherein his toy train set mysteriously comes to life. Actors on roller skates play the trains, racing to become the fastest engine in the world. The production is unique in that everything is a spectacle that sweeps the audience along with its gigantic sets, special effects and fabulous music, and these aspects as well its immense popularity make it the longest running musical at West End. It is the most popular musical show in Germany, running for twenty years. The awesome spectacle, the glitzy show, the visual extravagance, the music and the sheer energy of the show have vowed audiences for years.
The Story and History
Andrew Lloyd Webber conceived of this in 1975 as what he hoped would be an animated film based on a kind of Cinderella story, but it did not get off the ground. In 1984, it opened in a different avatar from what it is now. It took another nine years for the show to be planned and executed with new music as Starlight Express, dedicated to his son, Alastair. The story revolves around a battered and old steam engine, Rusty, and his attempts to race a flashy diesel locomotive. The trains are played by men and the carriages by women. Woven into the competitors’ race is a sweet love story between Rusty and Pearl, a first-class carriage. Basically the story is simple and timeless – the fight of the underdog to succeed in life and love. Fabulous songs, great effects and the live action all serve to keep the audience riveted to their seats.