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Starlight Express, The Mayflower
ALL aboard! Starlight Express is back – and it’s better than ever.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic is one of the longest-running musicals of all time. It’s been around so long, it’s become super cool again.
The roller dancing has been spruced up, there are new songs, the stunts are ever more daring and there’s clever new touches to the 3D projection.
But Starlight remains unashamedly nostalgic, with more than a passing nod to the 80s in the garish costumes, the sparkling set and the trio of rappers.
Based around a rail race between steam, diesel and electric, this is a good old tale of triumph over adversity.
Our three leads are perfectly cast as the reliable old hero steam train Rusty (Kristofer Harding), the rather flamboyant electric engine Electra (Mykal Rand) and Greaseball (Jamie Capewell), the diesel alpha male of the yard who set off to claim the world championship.
The superb vocals of Amanda Coutts (a demure Pearl) and particularly Lothair Eaton (wise old engine Poppa) lit up an incredible score dotted with musical theatre classics including Rolling Stock, One Rock n Roll Too Many, Light At The End Of The Tunnel and the title track.
Special mention must also go to the brilliant Ruthie Stephens who was hysterical in U.N.C.O.U.P.L.E.D as the desperate dining carriage Dinah.
A fair few moments of comedy, including the odd amusing announcement at the expense of the British rail network, raised guffaws from an appreciative audience.
We only get a fleeting finale glance at the powerful band of nine who play remotely in the theatre, but they provide a humdinger of a soundtrack to a technicolour show.
By the end, many were on their feet, clapping, toe-tapping and just wishing they could don those roller boots and skate home.
It’s a brilliant roller coaster ride of a show.
l Starlight Express runs until Saturday, December 8.