I’m not really into musicals. I didn’t even know that Starlight Express is an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. I went to see it driven by the enthusiasm of the people around me, without reading anything about it before and with the curiosity and intention of just seeing “what that’s all about”.
The only thing I knew was that the actors perform wearing roller skates.
The first surprise was the “Starlighthalle”, a specially build venue in Bochum, Germany. The entrance looks like the waiting hall of an old train station and the theatre has large tracks on three levels, with the audience sitting in between the tracks. The first category seats are even rotating, in order to be able to follow everything that is happening around.
The musical opened with the voice of a kid (that you never see), who plays with his toy trains.
As the skating performance started I directly got completely involved in the combination of music, fantasy characters, colorful laser shows and… speed. The skaters were so fast that I nearly got scared about the track directly behind my head. But then, as the musical went on and the speed increased, they started raising a barrier between the lane and the audience every time a fast race took place. It is all about these toy railway trains, racing against each other.
This theatre was incredible! Everything moved and changed from one moment to the other: the tracks, the height, the lights, the scenery… and I completely understand now why they designed an extra Starlight Hall for that. It would be impossible to go on a tour.
I have to admit that I would have preferred replacing one or two of the slower songs with some more races and speed-adrenaline, but I think that’s not a common thought.
– The slogan of the show is “Das rasanteste Musical im Universum!” (“The fastest musical in the universe!”).
– It is the most popular musical show in Germany
– It has been seen by more than 15 million people in around 10’100 performances
– The Starlighthalle in Bochum has been built in less than 1 year and made it into the Guinnes Book of Records for that
– The staff counts 651 actors from 34 nations
– 11’140 dresses and 823 wigs have been worn
– The figure Greaseball already skated about 20’250 km, which is ½ circumference of the earth
Images: Magic Picture – http://www.dj-magic-lightsound.de/mk-magic-picture.htm