Review: Starlight Express Youth Group Production, Co-op Juniors Theatre Company, Hush House, Bentwaters Park, to June 19

Laurie Bertram as Rusty the steam engine dreams of winning with Amber Bourne-Williams as Pearl, Emil

Laurie Bertram as Rusty the steam engine dreams of winning with Amber Bourne-Williams as Pearl, Emily Leech as Dinah, Ella Page as Duvay, Mia Fisk as Buffy in the Co-op Juniors Theatre Company's production of Starlight Express. Photo: Mike Kwasniak - Credit: Archant

If you’re still debating whether to get tickets you’d better get your skates on. When word spreads how good it is they will be flying out faster than Greaseball in his prime.

Laurie Bertram as Rusty the steam engine dreams of winning with Amber Bourne-Williams as Pearl, Emil

Laurie Bertram as Rusty the steam engine dreams of winning with Amber Bourne-Williams as Pearl, Emily Leech as Dinah, Ella Page as Duvay, Mia Fisk as Buffy in the Co-op Juniors Theatre Company's production of Starlight Express. Photo: Mike Kwasniak - Credit: Archant

Staging Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical on rollerskates would be a stretch for any group, but the cast proved to be the little engines that could. Watching them confidently whiz around us you’d never think many of them hadn’t skated before. Coaches Tony Morgan and Martin Harris should be proud.

The performers and the technical team made full use of the unique venue, more used to military jets than racing trains. The costumes were great too. Overall the whole show looked and sounded spectacular.

For those who haven’t seen the musical - I hadn’t until tonight - it sees a child’s train set come to life and the engines compete to become the fastest in the world, all set to a vibrant rock score. Underdog Rusty (Laurie Bertram) has little chance until he’s inspired by the legend of The Starlight Express. He takes on arch rivals Greaseball (Karl Lankester) and Electra (Holly Metcalfe) to win the love of first-class coach Pearl (Amber Bourne-Williams).

It’s a big ask of all involved but director and choreographer Rebecca Darcy has done a fantastic job alongside musical director Nigel Virley.

Laurie Bertram as Rusty the steam engine dreams of winning with Amber Bourne-Williams as Pearl, Emil

Laurie Bertram as Rusty the steam engine dreams of winning with Amber Bourne-Williams as Pearl, Emily Leech as Dinah, Ella Page as Duvay, Mia Fisk as Buffy in the Co-op Juniors Theatre Company's production of Starlight Express. Photo: Mike Kwasniak - Credit: Archant


You may also want to watch:


Obvious first night nerves - showing slightly in the odd vocal here and there - aside this was a strong start to the run. Probably the Juniors most ambitious show to date, it’s also my favourite.

The cast didn’t really put a foot, or should that be wheel, wrong. The performances were great, especially by the principles. Bad as it feels to single people out, the comedic timing of Curtis Cook (Dustin) deserves special mention. So does Emily Leech (Dinah) for her performance of U.N.C.O.U.P.L.E.D.

Most Read

If you like high energy shows with really catchy songs and a good story you can’t go far wrong with this. One rock ‘n’ roll too many may take its toll in the end, but the company has plenty of steam to blow off yet - choo choo choo.

Wayne Savage

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter