Tonight I joined one of my compatriots from the Sports and Social Committee and nine other people from work to see the opening night of Starlight Express – The 3rd Dimension, on its tour to Oxford. And it was great! It was fantastic, wonderful, exhilerating … it was the light at the end of the tunnel!
How anyone ever came up with the idea of Cinderella-esque love story about trains, on rollerskates I don’t think we will ever know. But it works. And that is the amazing thing. It has obviously been an immense challenge to turn a show that in its invention involved the complete rebuilding of the London theatre where it was staged, into a tour show. I can’t be certain but I believe the race time sections utilised the entire theatre and raced through the audience. The inventive solution to this was to use three dimensional video footage (for which we were instructed by ‘Control’ to wear our protective goggles), and it was clever. Ultimately though I found myself disappointed by these sections because the effectiveness of the choreography, lighting, and stage design. Deep down, I thought there might be another way of doing these sections live.
Rusty and Papa’s I am the Starlight duet in the second half appitimised for me how good the staging could be. A darkened stage, twinking lights, reflections off the stage, screens to bring through the lights surrounding the figures, and a stage that slopes inperceptably backwards to create movement when the characters are standing still (remember the roller skates).