Bill Kenwright’s new touring production of Starlight Express has rolled in to the Liverpool Empire, where John Napier’s neat design fits nicely into the stage. It is the tale of some toy trains, and their battle to become the fastest engine in the world, all controlled by the mind of a little boy. Electra the show off electric train, faces Greaseball, the American Diesel train and Rusty, the underdog Steam train –to be the fastest and for the heart of the girl of the show – Pearl, the observation coach.
The auditorium is full of excited people wearing their own pair of 3D glasses, and although the pre filmed race scenes were not of Hollywood standard, they are a nice touch to the show and keep the pace moving, so we have a change from the set which does not change throughout the show. Lighting designer Nick Richings does an excellent job of making the lights apart of the set and the story, however in dull moments; the production does feel like a light show.
Kristofer Harding as Rusty, Mykal Randal's Electra and Amanda Coutts' Pearl all excel, and have excellent stage presence throughout. Credit must also go to understudy Gavin Ashbarry who played the role of Poppa very convincingly with his delicious bluesy vocals.
We sadly do not get to see the powerful band of 9 who play remotely in the theatre. But they provide stimulation for the ears (albeit faceless) which adds up to a really enjoyable night out - jump aboard the Starlight Express - you won't regret it.