Belle's Domain
Starlight Express

Well, to start at the beginning.... The days leading up to our trip to Bochum were very tense indeed. My college course had been extended and extended again, leaving me considerably less time to finish costumes than I had anticipated. Jared's passport application was fraught with problems, mainly raising the money to get it, then once he had the cash, there were no appointments available leaving more than the required week before we departed. We flew out on saturday 9th july, Jared had the appointment to apply on the previous tuesday, and picked up his passport, amazingly, on friday. Added to this the trauma of terrorist attacks on london on thursday, we were very stressed by friday night!
Saturday
However, saturday morning dawned on us having sewn as much as possible, leaving small amounts of hand sewing and decorating needed in germany, we were packed and on our way 6am, raching Luton 7.20am, for a 9.50 check-in. So much hanging around the airport until our flight finally took off- no problems tho. We reached Dortmund at 1pm, and found Martin had been on the same flight as us! We got outside and found the next bus to the town centre was at 3pm, so we got a taxi to Bochum instead. Jared had his first german lesson on the way there, trying to learn to say "Yes, No, Maybe". The taxi drove past the Starlighthalle just as the matinee crowd was going in- so exciting to get that first glimpse of our destination! We reached the hotel about 3pm, checked in, and then decided we all NEEDED a nap. so we slept til about 5pm, then went up to the Starlighthalle to pick up our tickets for the Sunday shows, meet friends, and try to get tickets for that evening.
We got to the stage door just in time to see Woody posing for photos in full Rusty makeup, but did I have my camera with me then? no.... Heather, Amy, Gemma, Obi and Pounce were all there in costumes, having a great time and certainly getting noticed! Having picked up tickets and checked the situation for that evening, we decided the available tickets were not worth the money considering how tired we all were- the possibility of falling asleep in the warm, dark theatre was too high! So instead we returned to the hotel and went for dinner en masse. I can thoroughly recommend the Italian restaurant "Viola" in Bochum, although I can't give directions to it! But it's one of the roads off the road in front of the hauptbahnhof... :P
After a lovely dinner, Jared, Mazz and I decided to check out the "Bochum Total" festival. The Bermuda Triangle area of the town was FULL of people, including hundreds of spectacularly dressed goths with gravity-defying hair! And everyone was so NICE! There were glass bottles smashed everywhere, but people were so friendly and helpful, making sure nobody tripped. We browsed all the market stalls, and ended up buying a pair of sunglasses each. Then we headed back to the hotel, in need of a good nights' sleep!
Sunday
Sunday started relatively early, with us heading into town to find breakfast. We stopped at a lovely café we visited a few years ago, the waitress was absolutely lovely, helped explaining what everything on the buffet was to Jared. We went on to do a little shopping in town, then headed up to the theatre. We were therein plenty of time, so bought merchendise (only €60-odd...) and looked around, then the doors opened and we found our seats, front stage-left, right on the trackside. Of course we gave Jared the trackside seat as it was his first visit. The theatre is just overwhelming when you're that close, the set is so high, so wide, all around you.
Matinee Cast The cast board spoke of both happy and sad news... We were getting Woody as Rusty, which I was very keen to see, but no Krupp. NO KRUPP! After seeing the UK tour 9 times with no Krupp, I had been really looking forward to seeing Electra's full set of components again. However, as AC/DC began, I was watching closely to see how they'd cover a no Krupp show. Dinah stayed caught in the green laser alone for several seconds, looking confused, then guess who rolled forward from the smoke? Krupp himself! Looking rather quickly dressed in a poorly fitting costume, nevertheless he sang and danced through AC/DC, but when Electra, Purse, Krupp (and now Wrench) left during Pumping Iron, Krupp did not re-appear. On asking afterwards, apparently it was Philip Lee Stull who was on as Dustin, doubling as Krupp. he'd had both Krupp and Dustin costumes on for the first bit of the show, to make his change at the end of Freight as quick as possible. He pulled it off so smoothly!
Also I had been interested in the male Wrench, but Peelee was understudying Flat-top, which he was truly brilliant as, and very funny! Woody's Rusty is just PERFECT, he's such a sweet puppy! How GB's gang can be so heartless as to kick him around, I don't know. He was absolutely adorable. Excellent acting from Woody. In fact, excellent acting from everyone! I can't name just one person as the star of the show, as everyone was brilliant, but I think the contestants would be Clarissa Grace as Pearl, Peelee as Flat-top, Woody as Rusty, Chris Barron as Greaseball, Kelly Stammers as Joule, Nick Bower as Espresso and Amanda Coutts as Dinah. I can't choose!
After the matinee, we bought hotdogs and sat on the wall by the stage door to eat and generally relax, not having enough time really to head into town and back by public transport, and no real need to go anywhere. We sat and enjoyed the beautiful weather, and chatted to a few smokers on their cigarette break. then before we knew it, the foyer was open again, and we went back in to get dessert- ice creams at the Starlighthalle are the NICEST in the world!!! Anyway... for the evening show we were in the middle of the middle of the paddock. however there were some empty seats and the end of the row in front of us, so we moved for act 2. For the evening we had mostly the same cast, but camera battery died before I got a photo of the cast board. Bernie Blanks was on as Rusty, and we had a Krupp full-time. The real star of the evening show was Purse - Gianni Salvucci. Electra is a very lucky train to have that Purse in his entourage. The things he was doing really should be restricted to adults-only shows! Joule, Volta and Wrench were just as bad, hands all over Electra at any opportunity. Very naughty components! The Nationals had just as much character- so much fighting, aggression, and generally pratting around. Wherever you looked, the trains were playing up! Also had the cutest background interation between Pearl and Rusty, holding hands, whispering and giggling. The whole show was excellent, so good to see a FULL production of StEx!
By the end of the show, I was tired and hungry, with a pile of sewing needing to be done by tuesday. So I grabbed a macdonalds, and we went back to the hotel. An hour or so later, Mazz and Jared went off into town to get a proper dinner and find an interesting bar. It seems they did, and while I was hand-sewing the Rocky unitard, they found kare-oke and cocktails!!! Sometimes it sucks to be the contientious seamstress. Still, they had a great time, and poured back to the hotel at about 5am!!!
Monday
Monday was somewhat a non-day for us- no show, the open day the following day. After breakfast with Heather, Amy, Gemma, Obi and Pounce, we spent the day working on costumes and playing about with makeup, did a little shopping and had a few more drinks in town. Fell asleep in a dickmanns-induced sugar coma, What a sweet way to go.... :)
Tuesday
Tuesday started with an air of controlled excitement. We popped into town for breakfast at the cafe we'd visited the day before with Heather et co, tried to find leather biker gloves for Rocky but failed. We wanted to get to the theatre as soon as possible, in order to see backstage etc. before it got too crowded. As we were still pinning Ashley's hair at 12pm, this obviously didn't happen! But we made it to the theatre by taxi at about 12.30, so not horrendously late. First thing, before any wardrobe malfunctions could take place, we took photos of Mazz and Jared as Ashley and Rocky.
As ever, plenty of fans were in costume, I only managed to catch a few photos as I ended up being bag-lady most of the day, lugging around Mazz and Jared's gumpf! Jared sang "Starlight Express" in the fan competition... dressed as a london Rocky... as he was very much not in character, he cheesed it up wonderfully! A very enjoyable performance, and it won him 3rd place in the singing contest. As the first prize was a workshop day in Hamburg, singing training, just as well, as it will do the girl who did win much more good! She sang "Make Up My Heart" really bautifully.
Once the fan competition had been judged, much schmoozing went on, Jared making friends with a group of german girls who we ended up going out with after the day. Then we had time to go backstage before the skate show. The new wigs were all proudly on display, and they have so many Electra wigs- surely they can spare one to send over to the UK tour for Mykal Rand?

Backstage

The skate show was amazing- opened with a lovely little scene of the Traxes waking up, skating round, and seeing something really strange- a body suspended from the bridge! As it turned it became apparent this was Bernie Blanks safely strapped into a harness... the show was a good 45 mins long, including the performance, the technical show, lights and set dancing, then the skate-show, tricks.... they jumped over 15 people!!!! Including two kids pulled up from the audience. The skate show finished with Amanda Coutts as Dinah singing "UNCOUPLED".
Skate Show

Cast

Mazz fought her way into the corner to get pics of Purse, while Jared and I chatted and relaxed- the day was far too hot to deal with big crowds! After the skate show, which was the final one of the day, the theatre emptied out as most people started home, or watched the performances on the outside stage. There were two of the cast from "Saturday Night Fever", Tony Manero and the girl who confused me- her costume was unlike either of the london production leads, but she bore more resemblance to Stephanie than Annette. But then she sang "If I can't Have You", Annette's solo. Then she and Tony sang "How Deep Is Your Love", which is Stephanie's song... so maybe she was Stephanie. I know not!
At the end of the day, Jared invited his new friends back to the hotel with us, and on for drinks. So we did that. Sitting at an outside table, drinking cocktails and having an outrageous conversation of translating dirty words into german, was a very pleasant way to end the long, hot day! As we were about to leave, Jared had decided to go join some other people bowling, we met up with some lovely cast, and even lovelier, got them to have photos taken wearing the HEIGHT of fashion, the UK tour Starlight Express Safety Goggles!!!

I returned to the hotel to start packing and get some sleep, as I'd spent too much time in the sun during the day. somehow tho I managed not to get sunburnt! miracle! Mazz and Jared rolled in at about 3am, I think it was... On Wednesday morning, we got up, packed everything, and checked out about 11.30, then headed into town for brunch with Heather and friends. Well. Once we figured out the cafe they meant!!! We also did shoppings- I purchased a lovely big red wheelie suitcase, which we then filled with 26kg of everything, including near €100 worth of chocolates!!! Between three of us, and including presents for various people... so not that bad REALLY, but it sounds damn cool. We had a leisurely good-bye to bochum, as we had a 6.30 flight, taxi took us to Dortmund at 4, very smooth journey home. Noiw all that's left is to book our next trip this winter....