Starlight Express

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express

October 16, 2013 / by / 0 Comment

Starlight Express is a rock musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber created in the 1980s. I didn’t know much about the musical before seeing it last week at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, except that it is one of the longest running musicals in West End history with over 7000 performances.

After seeing the musical, I now understand why this has been so popular with the past generations and will be for years to come.



The musical revolves around a story about toy trains, which are portrayed by actors on roller skates. The trains race to become the fastest train in the world. The main characters in the play are Rusty (a steam train), Pearl (Rusty’s love interest, who is a beautiful observation car), and Electra (Rusty’s love rival), who runs on electricity and is described as the Engine of the Future.

In the musical, Rusty tries to do everything he can in order not only to win the race, but also to win Pearl’s heart. At first he feels hopeless and despairs about himself being “out-dated” as he runs on steam and other trains, like Electra, seem to be taking over as the new train of the future. However, he becomes confident after Starlight Express (the fairy godmother figure in the musical) tells him that he needs only believe in himself and do his best. Eventually, Rusty wins the championship, is crowned the fastest train in the world, and also wins Pearl’s love.

The story is heart-warming; the good guy wins in the end, and the bad guy goes out of the picture, which I really enjoyed. Another thing I loved about the musical was the use of roller skates on stage – that made it very fun to watch. I also loved the novel idea of 3D in the musical – to my surprise I found it quite fitting in the musical. In the parts where the trains race each other, we were asked to put on our “safety goggles” (3D glasses) and we would watch the race from a projector, which showed the race between the characters in 3D. That was quite refreshing.

The songs were very nice and in particular I enjoyed the duet between Rusty and Pearl at the end of the musical, which is entitled “Only You”.

Only you have the power to move me
Take me hold me mould me
Change me and improve
It’s not funny any more

There was I wondering why
Every days I peer into the distance
Now with you the light is shining through
You gave me life not just existence

Only you have the power to move me
And together we’ll make the whole
World move in sympathy
Only you have the power to move me

Tickets are still selling for Starlight Express. Please visit for more details. Don’t miss it!