REVIEW: Starlight Express at the Brighton Centre

It’s been almost 20 years since my mum took me to see Starlight Express in London’s West End.

Friday, 4th January 2013, 8:47 am

So when I heard a touring production of the show was coming to the Brighton Centre, I wondered if it could live up to the extremely fond memories I have of seeing the fast-paced spectacle as a child.

Thankfully, when my mum and I saw the show again last night (Thursday, January 3), we weren’t disappointed and we created yet more fantastic memories of this stage classic.

The new version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s roller skating production was brought to Brighton thanks to producer Bill Kenwright, and features choreography and direction by ex-Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips.

As with the West End show, which began in 1984 and ran for more than 7,000 performances, the new run is the story a young boy who dreams about trains preparing for a big race.

The futuristic tale also focuses on the love story between rickety old steam train Rusty, and sleek first class carriage Pearl, as well as the bitter rivalries between the different engines.

What is different for the 2013 production is the inclusion of several 3D portions of the show. At certain points, the audience is asked to put on their “safety goggles” and a screen showing the performers racing is dropped down from the ceiling.

It was a fun addition, and one that the children in the audience certainly enjoyed, although part of me would also like to have seen the races played out by the performers live.

But aside from that, the show is two hours of speed skating, stunts and fantastic songs, that will leave you humming them for days afterwards.

It was great fun, with plenty of audience participation, and I’d highly recommend it for a family outing.

The show runs until Saturday, January 12, and tickets are still available. To book, call the box office on 0844 847 1515 or visit

The website also features listings of all the upcoming shows at the venue.