Saturday, April 21, 2007

Show Review: Thomas and Friends Live!

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


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your review. It was the only one I could find online before the NYC shows and it helped me prepare my son for what to expect at his first "broadway" show.

Anonymous said...

I was just ready to purchase tix @ $28.50 a piece, not including the extra $25 and change for handling fees, when I decided to read your review! My husband nearly had heart failure when he saw how much it would cost for us to go! Anyway, after reading your review, I have decided to keep Thomas alive on our train table and wait for the "real" Thomas to come to our local RR! Thank you for saving us some big bucks!!

prezzemolo said...

Thanks for the information about Thomas & Friends Live Onstage. It is coming to St. Louis this April. From what you said about the cost and the thirty or so minutes before the 20 minute intermission is about enough to drive us away. We have two boys, 4 1/2 and 3, and they would just love it but will they even know what they missed if they don't go? I don't think so. We have contributed enough to Thomas to pay for these sets alone, let alone go to an overpriced show. My sarcastic comment would be, since the toys are made in China and are a hazard to children, are the sets painted with this same hazardous paint? Something to think about! LOL

Anonymous said...

My 3 year old LOVES Thomas too. A Day Out With Thomas was just here in Texas, and it sounds like a much better event than the circus. And the tickets are cheaper, just $18/person here. And you can go out to the Day Out With Thomas and enjoy the events without even purchasing a ticket for the train. So we rode the train one day and went back to enjoy the events another day. You still spend money in the store, but at least you get something you can take home. And with all the activities, the 3.5 hours we were there flew by quickly! I think I'll pass on the circus. Somehow Thomas in a circus environment doesn't sound nearly as fun as Thomas at the railroad like the Day Out With Thomas events.

Anonymous said...

We just went to the show today and it was AWESOME. I have been to elmo, dragon tales, bear and the big blue house and this by far was the best. My boys 4 1/2 and 3 were so happy. Thomas, Percy, Gordon, Trevor, Harold were there and the audience (children) participation was really fun. We will be going to the Day out with Thomas too in GA since the one in Tavares FL isn't participating. :(

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