Starlight Express the Musical Wiki

Purse is one of Electra's Components, the money truck in Starlight Express.  He represents Electra's accountant - the money man, and is also used as Electra's messenger.  


Purse is Electra's Money Truck, valuable and skilled. He is smooth, suave, elegant, and generally assumed to be second in command. He is often played as very camp, and arrogant. However his line to Pearl "Please come, I'll be fired if you don't" shows that he's not above begging when his career is on the line.


We first meet Purse in the introduction to AC/DC, as the components emerge from the dark, smokey stage. Purse is often seen mirroring Joule. Immediately following Electra's introduction, Greaseball enters to challenge the new-comer, and show off his testosterone-fuelled Rock compared to Electra's futuristic Electronic style. Electra and the Components move to the side of the stage as Greaseball takes centre-stage, but one by one he seduces the female Components away from their Master, much to Electra's fury. Often Purse spends the song trying to calm his Master, who is furious at this defection, but sometimes he is desperate to join the girls dancing, and it is up to Krupp to hold him back.

Purse next appears as Electra's messenger - sent to invite Pearl to race with Electra.

Purse: Pearl, you've been honoured, Pearl you've been chosen
Electra selected you for heat one!
Rusty: He has a Coach!
Purse: His coach has a headache.
Also he says you're second to none.
Please come, I'll be fired if you don't?
Pearl: Can he Whistle?
Purse: No! AC trains don't!
Pearl: Rusty needs me, which way should I go?
Thank Electra, say, I'll let him know!

Purse remains lurking on the edge of the stage, listening to Rusty and Pearl argue. Often he mimes his eavesdropping, and summons her as if pulling on a rope to get her to come with him. Once he's satisfied Pearl is at least in two minds about racing with Rusty, he leaves to report to his Master.

Electra's coach that Purse referred to, was originally Volta. The original production made it very clear who was lined up to race with who, which was also where the Components were named rather than introducing themselves by name in the AC/DC introduction. Also in the original production Electra raced in heat two, with the rhyming couplet "Also he says that he prefers you".

We next see Purse after the last of the heats has been won, as everyone argues about whether Poppa has the right to nominate his replacement or whether the place in the final should go to his runner-up. Purse, of course, supports Electra entirely. Pearl defects from Electra to Greaseball, leaving the Electrics furious and wrong-footed for the final race. Electra then sends Purse to invite Dinah, who's happy to come along, "unless Greaseball changes his mind!" Shortly after, Purse is accompanying Electra and Components when they meet Caboose, who explains his plans to wreck Greaseball in "Wide Smile".

Electra and Dinah never make a happy team, and soon after the Uphill Final is cancelled, Dinah disconnects Electra. Purse and the other Components try to keep him from losing his temper, as Electra summons Caboose to race with him instead. Purse is witness to Electra's humiliation as he loses the race, and ends up a mangled wreck along with Greaseball and Caboose. At the end of the show, Purse is free to choose his own future.


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1984 - 1986 Koffi Missah
1986 - 1987 Robin Wright
1987 - 1988 Gary Cordice
1988 - 1989 ?
1989 - 1990 ?
1990 - 1991 Stephen Russell
1991 - 1992 Robert Yeal
1992 - 1994 Marco Ferraro
1994 - 1995 Sandy Rass
1995 - 1996 Stuart Sweeting
1996 - 1998 David Hulston
1998 - 1999 Neale Pirie
1999 - 2001 Martin Matthias
2001 - 2002 Todd Talbot


1987 - 1989 Gordon Owens

Japan / Australia Tours

1987 Wayne Williams
1990 Sebastian Craig

Bochum, Germany

1988 - 1989 Christopher Todd
1989 - 1990 Hans Langen
1990 - 1991 Marco Kramer
1991 - 1993 Robert Hardware
1993 - 1994 Gary Albers
1994 - 1995 Tobby Lee Hutaff
1995 - 1997 Robert Hardware
1997 - 1998 James Whittington
1998 - 1999 Michael Clauder
1999 - 2000 Steven Seale
2000 - 2003 Gary Albers
2003 - 2007 Gianni Salvucci
2007 - 2008 Daniel Walker
2008 - 2009 Ian Oswald
2009 - 2011 Reginald H Jennings
2011 - 2012 Paul Shipp
2012 - 2013 Erik van Hoof
2013 - 2014 Ashley Birchall
2014 - 2015 Toby Poole
2015 - 2016 Paul Shipp
2016 - 2017 Jonathan Mawson
2017 - 2018 Anthony Starr

US Tour 1989 - 1991

1989 - 1990 Jamie
1990 - 1991 Michael-Demby Cain

Las Vegas 1993 - 1997

1993 - 1994 Marvin Engran
1994 - 1995 Terence Yancey
1995 - 1996 ?
1996 - 1997 Reginald H Jennings
1997 - close RT Smith

US Tour 2003 - 2004

2003 - 2004 Aaron Coulson

UK Tours 2004 - 2008

2004 - 2005 Matthew Boulton
2006 - 2008 Ben Draper

NZ Tour 2009

2009 Ben Nichols

UK Tour 2012-2013

2012 - 2013 Adam Illsley
Asia 2013 Adam Illsley