YOU want spectacle? The touring Starlight Express certainly provides it, not only in the form of roller skaters dressed like Christmas trees and mindbending laser displays, but literal spectacles – they’ve rolled out the 3D.
Added to make up for the Health and Safety-required loss of the traditional staging, which sees “trains” race around the auditorium, the gimmick is the only aspect of this show which doesn’t work.
Regular instructions to put on and take off “safety goggles” throws you out of the action, and the film inserts themselves are confusing even without the dodgy extra dimension.
Why the performers couldn’t just zoom around the stage, elbowing one another as sparks fly from their heels, I don’t know. The energetic cast are certainly up to it, selling Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgoe’s musical like their lives depend on it.
So what if the story is paper thin and the race structure impenetrable – just cheer on underdog Rusty as he takes on bully boys Greaseball and Electra while making coach car Pearl realise he’s the guy for her.
Enjoy the performers whizzing back and forth with steam, electric and diesel trains on their heads. Sing along to pastiche numbers U.N.C.O.U.P.L.E.D., Poppa’s Blues and the simply superb Right Place, Right Time.
Starlight Express isn’t high art but it’s certainly artful; what it does, it does superbly. As an Eighties creation – I swear I heard a Moog – it’s a bit of a period piece, but it’s bringing a spot of sunshine to this wettest of summers.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West