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Wrench is Electra's repair truck, one of the Components, in Starlight Express.

PersonalityEdit

Electra's repair truck is usually the most straight-forward and aggressive of the female components.  Where Volta is an ice queen, Joule is animal sensuality, Wrench is butch, practical, lacking any feminine softness about her. She is a character not to be crossed. She is Electra's repair truck, a trained medic on hand at all times.  

Whenever cast issues have required that a male swing covers a female role, it is usually Wrench who becomes male. This became so common in 2005-2010 in the Bochum production that Wrench was cast male, and covered by both male and female swings. Male Wrench struggles in personality, as he lacks distinguishing characteristics. Where female Wrench is the most masculine of the female components, male Wrench is aggressive but not as aggressive as Krupp, he is effeminate to a degree, but not as elegant and sensual as Purse. He still dances "Pumping Iron" with the girls, but is ignored by Greaseball.  

Role Edit

In the Original Production, we first meet Wrench after Pumping Iron, as Control calls the final entries for the race, and the power drains. Out of the dark shoot lasers, and the Components emerge from the smoke, talking in code. Finally their master appears (AC/DC), Electra, the engine of the future, a composite made from the sum of all the parts of the Components. Wrench is often seen mirroring Krupp.

Control calls the Racers forward, each to choose their race partner, and Wrench hooks up with Turnov - this can be construed as part of a master plan by Electra to weaken the competition by having his own people racing with them, however generally the Components are seen to be genuinely supportive of their engines and hope to win. In the original race structure, Turnov and Wrench raced in Heat 3, and were beaten by Poppa and Dustin. The humiliation.

In the huge argument following Poppa's qualification for the final (The Rap), Wrench of course obeys and follows her Master, and she is horrified when Pearl leaves him for Greaseball. The Components are, as ever, adoringly following Electra as he meets with Caboose and learns of his nefarious schemes (Wide Smile). Wrench is relegated to the sidelines during the Uphill Final, as the race ends in a dead heat. Some time later, we see Electra and his new race partner, Dinah, an unhappy team, and just before the re-run of the final race, Dinah disconnects Electra. Wrench and the Components are right there, yet Electra chooses to race with Caboose at the last minute, giving the treacherous brake van a place in the final.

Between Electra's arrogance, Greaseball's violence, and Caboose's insane meddling, Rusty and Dustin take the lead and win the race! Furious and humiliated, Electra throws a tantrum and swears he'll never be seen there again (No Comeback), leaving his Components behind. But they're present to witness the pitiful train wreck that is what remains of Greaseball and Caboose (One Rock & Roll Too Many), and find the happily ever after of "Light at the End of the Tunnel".

In later versions of the show, AC/DC is before Pumping Iron, which means the female components are swayed away from Electra to dance with Greaseball. Wrench even dances when male. In the later London show, Wrench and Turnov raced in Heat 2. In the German show, Wrench does not race.

Appearance Edit

London Edit

L84 Wrench 1

Original Wrench, Carole Amphlett, London 1984

Wrench Jo18 Kate Alexander

Kate Alexander as Wrench, London 2001

Wrench's costume refers to her nature as a repair truck, with her apron being a nod to a welder's protective apron, as well as a nurse's apron. Her design ties her very closely to Electra, keeping his colour palette of red, blue and silver. She has a recurring theme of stripes, blue with silver, silver with black. Her wig began as red with black sides, but gained blue accents, then eventually yellow in the centre, red, then black sides. This wig is the only use of yellow in the Electrics' costumes. At one point in the 1992 overhaul of the London production, Wrench was given the crane hat in line with the Broadway descended productions, however the extra height caused problems with the London set and choreography and the helmet was never implemented.

In 1999, Wrench's London design was significantly overhauled to bring her more in line with the Las Vegas design, which in itself was a development from the Broadway concept. She lost the blue elements of her costume, the padded sloping shoulders and the blue and silver legs. In their place she gained silver diagonal patterned leggings, a round red collar and cage sleeves that reference an element of railway architecture. Unlike the Vegas design, Wrench kept the black/red/yellow flame styled wig.

Broadway / Bochum Edit

Wrench Design 1

Broadway Costume Design

Wrench Design 2

Broadway Design Headdress

When the show transferred to Broadway, the costume budget was drastically increased, which allowed for far more technical costumes to be built. Wrench is a prime example of this, as she developed from soft, quilted shapes to heavy duty hardware. Her costume design elaborated on her dual nature - she is both a repair truck, as indicated by the crane on her head and the flat bed of her shoulders, as well as a medic as indicated by the red crosses on her forehead and arm band. She also gained the Santa Fe logo on her chest, in line with the other Components. Her hat represents the crane, essential lifting apparatus for a repair truck. For the sake of practicality, the space between her head and the crane is not empty air, but painted to resemble blue sky and clouds. Often the tip of the crane includes a red light.
B11 Wrench

Wrench's 2011 Wig, Bochum

The Bochum production has kept close to the original design, apart from experimenting with giving Wrench a wig in 2011, rather than her crane hat. This wig was a faux-mohawk giving her a similar style to both Electra and Joule. The blue sides of the hair were swept up into spikes, and the centre was red and white and brought up and forward in much the same shape as her crane hat. However this wig was replaced by the original hat a couple of years later.

Wrench also had a re-design in Las Vegas, the only character other than the coaches to do so. Her costume alteration was more subtle than the Showgirl Coaches, she lost the hard, wide shoulders, replaced with a round red collar and cage sleeves. Her apron also halved in length, covering her crotch rather than reaching to her knees. The Santa Fe logo moved from her chest to the centre of her belt, and the top of her apron echoed the lower panels. This version of the costume was used for the US/UK Tours. For the 2012 UK Tour, Wrench lost the entirety of her front apron, having only a short flap at the back.


Gallery Edit

London Edit


Bochum Edit

Others Edit


CastEdit

London Edit

Bochum

Japan/Australia Tours

Broadway

US Tour 1

Las Vegas

US Tour 2

UK Tour 2004-08

NZ Tour

UK Tour 2012

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