Starlight Express Irish premiere ready to roll at the Lime Tree

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

Starlight Express Irish premiere ready to roll at the Lime Tree

Edmond Gubbins, Emily Lohan, Bronagh Murphy from MIDAS who perform in the upcoming production of Starlight Express in the Lime Tree

THE Irish premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical Starlight Express will take place in the Lime Tree Theatre.

The Mary Immaculate Dramatic Arts Society – MIDAS – is gearing up to present the magical tale of trains, speed and song, the first Irish company to tackle the rarely performed show, this week.

After a sell-out run of Les Misérables last year, MIDAS return to the Lime Tree for a fifth time, with, as producer Michael Finneran admits, the company’s “most ambitious musical project yet”.

“It is quite an undertaking, it is clearly my year for slightly mad ideas. It is the Irish premiere and it is that for a very good reason, because the entire show is performed on rollerskates,” he laughs.

“So we have 32 members of cast who, in the last eight weeks, have had to learn how to rollerskate and they are doing great – they are now dancing, singing, performing and moving entirely on rollerskates,” he adds.

The producer – senior lecturer in drama at MIC – happily reports no injuries to the cast or crew, which is spearheaded by director Lee Dillon, choreographer Amanda Kearns and musical director Noel Lennon.

A simple tale, written for Lloyd Webber’s kids, Starlight made history by becoming one of the longest-running West End shows after it opened in 1984, boasting a vibrant rock score, a fast pace, amazing visuals and innovative staging.

“It is something else. I think it was the first show I ever saw over there myself, it was hugely popular because it was a spectacle, and that is what this is, a visual spectacle,” says Michael. “We have a huge lighting rig going in and a huge amount of steel pieces of truss and things like that, and the costumes are actually unbelievable, all the guys chase trains.

“It is a hugely child friendly piece, warm and sincere and great fun as well. What we are trying to do is inject a lot of speed and youthful energy into it. They are an incredibly committed gang, and incredibly brave at that, to take on learning how to rollerskate, I admire their guts and bravery for doing that.”

- Starlight Express runs in the Lime Tree from April 13 – 16. See www.limetreetheatre.ie.