Nov 14, 2013

Hop onto the Starlight Express!

Media Invite
(Daddy skates)

If you have kids - say between the ages of 4 to 16 - book now for Starlight Express, one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's best-loved, longest-running and most unique musicals in theatrical history. Just be mentally prepared for them to request for some wheels in the form of roller-skates or roller-blades immediately after the show.

Let me get something out of the way first - Cats, Phantom of the Opera or Evita this musical is not. But therein lies the charm of Starlight Express; the premise of the musical is kept so basic that it is totally kids-friendly.

‘Control’ is a 10-year-old boy with a kick-ass train set. He is reluctant go to bed - as with all of our kids - because he is busy arranging the World Championship Railroad Race. Mum's dogged instructions eventually prevail - as with all parents - and in Control's dreams, the trains come to life as portrayed by actors on roller-skates. The trains compete to become the 'fastest engine in the world', and in the end, the underdog, Rusty, wins the race and the heart of a beautiful observation car, Pearl.

Originally conceived as a cartoon story for his own children, Lloyd Webber re-worked the Cinderella story with Rusty being the male 'Cinderella', Greaseball and Electra - the 2 other more powerful trains - becoming the 'stepsisters' and the Starlight Express is Rusty's Fairy Godmother.

While the story-line wouldn't win any awards, the sheer spectacle of the musical is where it truly excelled. For one, the choreography was downright awesome and executed with flawless precision. Throughout the show, I had to keep reminding myself that the entire performance is choreographed on roller-skates and that all those high kicks, synchronised struts and whizzes around the confines of the stage are done ON WHEELS. Coupled with the fact that the actors have to maintain their pitch-perfect singing at the same time, it is truly nothing short of amazing.

For both Ash and Ayd, they could only watch in silent awe as the actors flip in the air, roll from ramp to ramp and indulge in some really synchronised dancing. Even for Ale, whom I was initially worried on whether the musical will be able to sustain her attention for its 2-hour duration (excluding a 20-minute intermission), lapped it all up and was even clapping and nodding her head to the music at certain parts!

In the original West End production of Starlight Express, the musical had race tracks specially-built around the theatre auditorium for its race acts. But given the space constraints of the MBS Theatre, the audience has to make do with 3-D short films of the race sequences instead. Not entirely adrenaline-inducing, but sufficient enough to keep the monkies glued to their seats.

All in, Starlight Express definitely struck all the right chords with the monkies, the wifey and me. It may not be as classic as the rest of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals but in its dazzling wacky kind of way, it was a musical that all of us thoroughly enjoyed. 

Check out the cool trailer of the show below!

Starlight Express is roller-skating at Marina Bay Sands' Mastercard Theatres from now until 24 November 2013. For more information and to buy tickets, click HERE.

Light years ahead of the rest, Starlight Express is a futuristic tale about love, rivalry and hope in the face of adversity as a set of toy trains race come alive in a little boy's dreams and race to become "the fastest engine in the world". Performed LIVE on roller skates, STARLIGHT EXPRESS delivers two hours of speed, energy, 3D effects, turbo-charged daredevil stunts with award-winning sets and costumes, extraordinary roller skates choreography and a high-voltage soundtrack. 

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