It's like Tron as conceived by Joel Schumacher, Bob Mackie and Carmen Miranda. It's like HR Giger, flying on PCP and armed with a glitter cannon. It's like Star Trek's Borg "assimilated" Olivia Newton-John's Xanadu.
Please, God, make it stop!
It's Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express (Nov. 4-16 at the Fox Theatre, 527 North Grand Avenue, $20-$58, 314-534-1111) and it's as funny as the best of Mr. Show, The Simpsons, Triumph the Comic Insult Dog and Moesha combined. Starlight Express, for the uninitiated, is a sci-fi musical on roller skates. But wait -- there's more. It also includes a skateboarding half-pipe for airborne stunts, pyrotechnics, lasers and a segment with a short 3D film projected in the theater.
What's it about? Some horsepuckey about a young boy dreaming of anthropomorphic trains -- but who cares! Certainly not the show's writers.
This touring version of Starlight Express is the completely retooled (in 1992) update of the original stage production, with new choreography and costumes, and it still looks like the disco scenes from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century meets Rollerball (and not the cool 1975 version of Rollerball, either). And yet it's the second-longest running musical in British history, and it plays year-round in a specially designed theater in Bochum, Germany. And we thought the Germans had no sense of humor.... -- Byron Kerman
Damn near killed 'er
If you've ever wondered what the opium-induced dreams of a man smitten with love sound like, you'll have the opportunity to find out this weekend when the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra presents Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique as the resounding finale of its "Three Personae" program. The composer's best-known opus tells the tale of a young musician's emotional upheaval after falling in love with an unattainable woman and dynamically traverses the spectrum of melodic possibility from the basis of a central theme, or idée fixe. The SLSO dons costumes for its 8 p.m. Friday, October 31, and Saturday, November 1, concerts at Powell Symphony Hall (718 North Grand Boulevard, $10-$95, 314-534-1700, www.slso.org). -- John Goddard
Shock vs. Schlock
In the bowels of punk rock
The creepy "Samhain" (that's the Celtic name for Halloween) concert at the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center (3301 Lemp Avenue, 8 p.m., $5, lemp-arts.org) may just turn into a comedy showcase. That's because the ghoul-punkers of Crypt 33 and the Frankenhookers have no shortage of humor in their respective audio products. Crypt 33 advertise themselves as hailing "from the decaying bowels of rural Missouri" (better known as Fredericktown), and the Frankenhookers' songs include "Puking in Your Sink," "Garbage Pail Kids," "The Last Day I Died," "Cuntrol," "She Likes It Spooky" and "Odious Indeed."
Headliners Neither/NeitherWorld are a darkwave outfit featuring Wendy Van Dusen and Vadge Moore from the Dwarves. They produce some pleasantly ethereal and spooky sounds, but if you can't stand baby-doll vocals, step outside for a smoke (or a candy apple?) during this one. Finally, Rosemary Malign and the Eugenics Council specialize in aggressive noise -- if their act annoys you, you've just made them happy. -- Byron Kerman
Those Bulgar Vulgarians
For those tired of the Halloween hoo-ha, hop over to the Grbic Restaurant at 7:30 p.m. (4701 Keokuk Street, 314-772-3100, $8-$16) and dance, dance, DANCE! to the driving Bulgarian wedding music (think Klezmer, but played at 78 rpm) of the Yuri Yunakov Ensemble. Titular sax-blaster Yunakov is reuniting with his old pal Ivo Papazov, which is like Lennon hooking back up with McCartney; and it could happen, as their dervish rhythms are powerful enough to make even the dead rise up and dance. -- Paul Friswold