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If you’ve been following and reading along with all my reviews, you’ll know by now that my daughter’s love of musicals first started off with the Pinkalicious musical. Well, when she was younger, she also loved to play with Thomas the Tank engine (thus proof that boys are NOT the only ones who should be playing with trains and other such vehicles). While she was never a fan of the tv show itself, she did have a comprehensive collection and would use them in everyday play. When this Thomas & Friends Live: Thomas the Tank Engine: saves the day musical chugged into town, we both decided it would be fun to watch. After all, what’s not to love about a musical?
Children musical show review: What happened?
Greeted by the familiar Thomas & Friends logo projected on the stage, we found our seats and settled down to see what would happen next. As we waited, we were entertained by images of trains projected and bouncing along the theatre ceiling and walls. Before long, the familiar Thomas & Friends theme song started to play.
On the Island of Sodor, the Lantern Festival is about to start and there is much work that must be done by those useful engines. Sir Topham Hatt enlists the help of Thomas, Percy, and Diesel to get the job done. Of course, it wouldn’t be a true Thomas the Tank Engine show without some suspense as bad weather threatens to put an end to the Lantern festival. Not to worry though, there is a happy ending!
The show is about 90 minutes long and when we went, there was a 20 minute intermission.
My kid’s review of the Thomas Show:
“I like it when they do ‘clap clap clap, clap clap clap’. I also like when they go ‘beep beep! beep beep’. Ms. Martin always bends down when she does ‘beep beep’. Thomas saved the day. Percy is scared to go in the mine and Thomas helps him go in the mine because he’s not scared. Inside the mine, they found the lost diamond mine. The diamond was used for the lighting up the lighthouse because the lighthouse, it was so windy that the light popped out so the diamond mine was used for the light so people saw the lantern festival. They sang ‘Thomas the Tank Engine rolling along..dah dahh dah dah dah..dah dah dah dah dah. I liked it the ending when the lanterns lit up and I also like it when they make funny faces. They (the performers) were making surprised faces. I liked it in the beginning even though they didn’t come to see us but they went into the audience and I liked it when they were holding big poofy bags. A man got this balloon and tossed it into the audience and it didn’t get to us but it got to people lower in the audience. I also like it when the trains talked. That’s all.”
Would I pay to watch this musical again? Absolutely! It was better than I expected with a real life size Thomas, Percy, and Diesel on stage complete with puffing smoke stacks, and animated faces. Produced by AEG ThemeSTAR and HIT Entertainment, these were not your average flat stage props – these trains were fully automated, rolling and puffing on stage. There was even a race between Percy and Thomas to see who was faster!
There are familiar Thomas the Tank Engine songs for children to sing along with (e.g. “Everyday is a special day on Sodor….Surprises, surprises..they come all shapes and sizes….Thomas the Tank Engine rolling along…..and of course, Roll Call!!). Audience participation was encouraged so your child will have plenty of opportunity to clap along with these familiar tunes. Kudos to the performers of the show, dancing out the choreographed musical numbers with big beaming faces that really helped to bring Thomas to life.
I did find the intermission a little confusing for the younger children in the group although it’s needed especially if a diaper change/toilet trip is in order. While my daughter was okay with taking a break to walk around and use the bathroom (my reasoning to her: so we could take a break but more importantly so the performers could take a break. It must be hard work to do all that dancing!), I heard a lot of children crying and yelling for Thomas. I wonder if part of this is because the intermission happened after a particularly intense moment (hint: Percy needs Thomas’ help!). It’s a long time for young children to wait for 20 minutes to find out what will happen to Percy. It’s also a long time to wait, period. Some children in the audience were convinced the show was over and were ready to go home. However, when the speakers announced that the show was about to start again, most coped well and were able to settle back in to see what happened next.
Word of warning: this isn’t going to be a quiet sit down musical. At least, when I went, it was a noisy excited crowd of children. Every time Thomas or Percy or Diesel made an appearance on stage, the children screamed and cheered. Many parents also purchased the blinking Thomas toys so there was a LOT of lights in the audience (I found it distracting but my daughter didn’t seem to care).