REVIEW | Madagascar The Musical.

6 March 2019 1 Kildare St, Leicester LE1 3YH, UK

Photo Credit: Scott Rylander

Madagascar The Musical
Haymarket Leicester
★★

Who would have thought it? The beloved 2005 animation film has come to the stage in a brand new production that is perfect for audiences of all ages. The franchise is known for an unforgettable bunch of characters, from the sophisticated penguins through the hypochondriac giraffe Melman. This film comes with a huge following and expectation so would the musical live up to such a high bar?

To my relief, the production is in safe hands thanks to Selladoor who are already having a stellar year with their work (and we're only in March!). It has incorporated a handful of spritely, catchy tunes with a gorgeous set design from Tom Rogers. The transition from screen to the stage has been smooth as well as of the necessary charm and goodwill needed for a fantastic musical!

If you are unaware of the story, we follow four of New York's most popular zoo animals - Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo. They catapult their lives from the comforts of the Big Apple to the depths of an African island that is surrounded by wild creatures. They are suddenly very far from home and it will put friendships to the test.

Photo Credit: Scott Rylander

There's nothing much to the plot which makes for an ideal musical for young people - it gives a great introduction to the theatre if you haven't already taken your child. I was thrilled to see how many children in the audience were absolutely transfixed by the impressive and intricate puppetry design from Max Humphries'. All of the characters completely came alive and the skill was flawless in embodying those big characters within the production.

WATCH NOW: Madagascar the Musical UK Tour Trailer.

The big name in this production was recent X Factor winner Matt Terry who plays Alex the Lion. He's an obvious attraction for some people to snap up some tickets and although he whipped out some impressive falsetto, his acting abilities didn't live up to such a big role for me. I didn't find he found a natural rhythm to the acting and it was his singing that made up for it, unfortunately. I was floored by Jo Parsons' performance as King Julien who knew exactly how to raise the roof with his rendition of I Like To Move It and received roars of laughter from the grown-ups in the audience. I thought Jamie Lee-Morgan was excellent in using his puppeteer expertise to bring Melman the Giraffe to life, I loved his interpretations of hypochondriac qualities and he was just sweet!

Photo Credit: Scott Rylander

In the Dreamworks' films, it's the penguins who build a side-plot and they certainly did a grand job in the stage production too, I thought they were wicked!

All in all, Madagascar The Musical is a fun-filled night of puppetry, humour and dazzling design. It certrainly had all of our audience up and dancing at the end! It doesn't have an unforgettable soundtrack like most of the musicals out there and the plot is simplistic. However, for a quick trip to the theatre to escape the daily grind and to bring your kids to, this is the ticket you need to be purchasing! The cast of ten does an unreal job of creating a whole host of characters in quick succession with fluidity. It really wasn't what I expected and I'm thrilled that I went to see it!

Madagascar the Musical is performing at the Leicester Haymarket until 09 March. You can catch it at various venues on it's UK Tour in 2019, find out more here.

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