16th November 2017
Walney Musical Theatre Company
The Forum Theatre, Barrow in Furness
Type of Production
Author: Ed McGee
Starlight Express tells the story of a childs train set coming to life, and in a series of races between the engines, the underdog Rusty comes out on top, winning the heart of First Class Coach, Pearl on the way.
The main engine characters are Greasball, played by Kieran McCormack, he performed with a swagger and over inflated ego, that the character requires. Electra, played by Louis Simon gave a competent performance, but perhaps lacked the flamboyance required for the electric engine. Arron Wakefield played a very convincing Rusty, he sang and acted the role with the right level of vulnerability. His skating was the most assured of any of the cast on stage. John Edwards played Poppa, he sang very well, but looked uncomfortable on his skates.
I was perplexed by the female carriages, with Buffy, Duvay and Red Caboose being doubled up. Having said that they all looked and sounded good, with competent skating. Pearl, played by Caris Kerr, looked good, and captured the part to perfection. Her singing was flawless. Dinah played by Rachel McKimm sang U.n.c.o.u.p.l.e.d, and this for me was the highlight of the show, with skating to match. All the cameo roles were well played, and the ensembles were very good.
The staging for me lacked the wow factor. The choreography, and races would have been more exciting, had there been different levels on stage, perhaps with ramps to show off their skating prowess.
The lighting, sound and orchestra were of a good standard, but on occasions the transition between musical numbers was a little slow.
Well done to everyone for tackling this musical with all its extra complexities. I enjoyed the evening very much, and the company’s hospitality was excellent.