Belle's Domain

Starlight Express - UK tour 2004-05

26th March 2005 - Oxford

Evening performance.

As a last minute impulse, I took two friends who are currently studying at Laine to see the show, as they were auditoning for the re-cast the following week and they wanted to see what they were getting into! We took the coach from london to Oxford, having bought tickets over the phone while sitting in Hyde Park watching skaters. The wonders of the modern world. We got to oxford with very little time to spare, just time to pick up our tickets and get into the theatre.
There were several understudies, most disappointing was that Tom Kanavan was off, as we were really looking forward to seeing him. Also, the Revolve was still not working from last week- WHAT a shame, NOT! The show's much better without the revolve as the cast actually skate the formations like the star, rather than just standing and being carried around. Far more impressive to see them really skate.
The intro of the Nationals was VERY strange... sounded like a prank going on, with the instrumental flourishes for each national being a semitone out from the rest! it was painful! There was also a bit of a timing issue going on throughout the show, a lot of the singers not coming in on cue and not sticking to the band's tempo, so I think that everything was not smooth backstage!
Overall it was quite a wobbly night, skating wise- but at the very end of their oxford run, I don't blame them at all! I hope everyone gets a good few days' rest before they open in Edinburgh!

CAST

Rusty -
James Gillan.
Perfect as ever. He reacts so well to everything. There were some little girls at the stage door after, who had made a "RUSTY" Banner, was adorable!
Poppa -
Anton Stephens
I love the way his Poppa is slightly crazed, a tiny bit unbalanced. And he's funny and a great voice, an excellent Poppa!
Greaseball-
Johnny Shentall
I KNOW I'm negative about him, so I'll be as unbiased and fair as possible... He can't skate. His singing is ok but nothing special, and he can do one dance move, it seems, dropping into splits but with one leg bent. And to be brutal, I've never seen anyone so overweight in StEx before, let's just say his Hopper costume is much kinder than Greaseball. His skating was awful- Gareth, who put on quads for the first time yesterday, is already better than him! I HAD to laugh in "Rolling Stock" when he tried to skate up the bowl, and didn't make it, had to scrabble to the top, NOT elegant! Also in Pumping Iron, where GB is meant to skate over the girls, with the revolve being broken they were in the wrong place to skate over, I don't think he'd have dared anyway, but where he skated through the line of girls, they cleared a good 10' gap for him to get through! Was like parting the red sea! Most amusing. (YES I'm a bitch! but he can't skate!) His character as Greaseball was pretty accurate, but I also got the distinct impression that there wasn't much acting going on. >:)
Electra -
Mykal Rand
shinyshinyshinyspinnyshinyshinyflashyspinnyshinyshinyshiny..... *hypnotised*

shiny...

*ahem* Yes. Very much love his Electra. SO FUNNY! Also really liked the way he used his fireworks, rather than just shooting them upwards, he pulled them as he was raising his arms so they swooped up! ok, not a good description, but it looked fantastic.
Pearl -
Jane Horn
Were I casting the show, I'd certainly not put her as Pearl... I think she might make an interesting Ashley. But she plays Pearl as well as she can, within the directions I assume she's been given- ie, that the character's a slut! What she does, she does well. Much more focussed than last week where she seemed quite distracted.
Dinah -
Tanya Robb
She plays the character for laughs, and it works, tho personally I think she's on the verge of over-acting and losing the sympathetic side of the character. Yes, I know we're talking about roller-skating trains here, but the cast who take the characters seriously as acting roles are the ones who really star!
Ashley-
Amy Field
Prime example of above. Not only is Amy a fantastic dancer, you also really get the sense of her Ashley being a laid-back, slightly sarcastic girl who does however, care about her friends.
Buffy -
Ashley Hale
She doesn't have the experience that Amy does, and as such her portrayal of Buffy is not so deep. I was watching her, trying to get who her character was, and just didn't get much from her. She's a good dancer, she skates well, she does everything right, but doesn't somehow get that extra push to be a star. Hopefully it'll come with time!
Hip Hopper 1 - Grant Murphy All three hoppers were pretty ickle! Made for a visually interesting Freight train... Grant was having fun with 1, he was very animated, played up to the part nicely with some nice little ad-libs too. 2 and 3 both excellent skaters, doing some great moves!
Hip Hopper 2 - Tony Andrade There's one bit of Right Place, Right Time that I'd like to see transferred to Bochum- at the beginning of the song where the Rocky 1 hits first one, then the other, in the tour they take turns to do tricks, with the other hoppers cheering them on. It's a much more friendly, and an excellent few seconds' showcase for 2 and 3 to show off their latest tricks.
Hip Hopper 3 - Craig McDermott Also I finally figured out what's so different about RPRT, all the moves that involve looking back and forth are cut. Instead the hopers kinda stand there, makes the whole routine so much more static.

Star of the show!
Flat-top - Jamie Capewell Being well over 6', with skates, and brick on his head, Flat-top was by far the tallest Freight, which was strange, but so funny! And he had a brick on a chain- blatantly a london prop that was *ahem* recovered. Quite an old tatty brick, but still, the fact it was on a chain from his wrist meant he could do SO much with it, from hypnotising hoppers, to really throwing it into the audience, to trying to train it to heel... Unfortunately he didn't have anywhere to put it on his belt, as he kept trying, it only stuck on his head. And the chain wasn't quite long enough to give him full use of his arm without the brick flying off- but that in itself was so funny! He also had his hair pulled out above his ears, making him entirely comic! Jamie's also a superb skater, jogging around and playing about, he totally stole the show, he gave Mykal Rand's Electra a run for his money! Jamie's Flat-top was in character SO like Mungojerry from Cats- cheeky, irreverant, but deep down, a sensitive and caring individual. He has earned my undying love, however, by one single line. After GB's Gang beat up Rusty, Flat-top sneaks back with Rusty's helmet, and Jamie "forgot" the tour script, and said "You alright, Rusty?" before scurrying away. Not a conventional Flat-top, but fantastic!
Dustin - Gavin Ashbarry A totally "Bless!" Dustin. He's so sweet and cheery, you gotta love him!
Caboose - Paul Christopher Paul was having fun with Caboose, he made him a really nasty piece of work. There wasn't much of the two-facedness, he was pretty much just evil! very much the antagonist. It's so sad that his character and motivation is almost nonexistant due to the dreadful cutting and direction!
Trax -
Matt King
Brilliant skater, of course...
Trax 2/Brit-
Adam Floyd
Saw Adam doing a new trick- he skated up the bowl and went into a handstand, held it for a good few seconds. bad description, sorry! But it was really impressive!
Ruhrgold -
Jake Samuels
Turnov -
Chris Thatcher
Lovely characterisation
Nintendo -
Philippe Reynolds
Purse -
James Marshall
Wrench -
Ruthie Stephens
Joule -
Lucinda Gill
Volta -
Lauren Brooke