Ok, when I saw that Thomas and Friends Live! was coming to town, I couldn't resist taking my 3yo-Thomas-loving son.
Overall, this Broadway-style stage show is good. There is a small cast of live actors and three engines (Thomas, Percy, and Diesel, plus a Troublesome Truck). The engines are 8ft long, 6ft high engines (my dh and I couldn't exactly figure out how they worked, obviously someone was inside steering) with facial expressions similar to the TV/DVD series. The plot is simple and explained continuously for the young ones to follow. In the wake of wind storm that has ruined the preparations for the upcoming Lantern Festival and blown out the lighthouse light, Thomas and his friends must save the day. Additionally, the engine who helps out the best wins the honor of pulling the special car at the festival. I won't give away the ending ... but I think it might be an obvious guess what happens.
There are a lot of songs ... about 2/3 from the TV show and 1/3 new ones obviously written for this show (these were not as good as the TV show's) ... and a lot of crazy choreography! The actors use annoying 'character' voices (with the exception of Sir Topham Hatt, who has a very specific voice). My son told me "Percy didn't sound right." The scenery and costumes are basic ... I was really disappointed by the pitiful lantern festival at the end. They have a lot of opportunities for audience participation ... making different train noises, hand motions, singing, clapping, etc. And my son seemed to enjoy the activity. He really liked it and wanted to go again the next day.
However, we were not going to shell out the $25/ticket again (and this was for a upper-middle section ... the front section was $50). And we really wanted to take our little one, who I think would have loved it as well, but for this show only children under 1yo were allowed in free (unlike the usual 2yo policy) and we were not going to spend that money. Parking was only $5 (which we wouldn't have spend had not been running late). Speaking of money, I fully understand that in addition to ticket sales, these shows make a lot of money on concessions and merchandise and part of these sales include having an intermission. This show suffered greatly by having one. The first act is only 30mins long, then a 20min intermission, and the second act only about 20mins! It was ridiculous, and my son has lost some of his energy and interest after waiting that 20mins.
If it comes to your town and you have a Thomas-lover in your family, I would recommend it (but it not something I would tell you to run out to find ... though I hear the Go Diego Go! Show is great!).
For more info see www.thomasandfriends.com.