Taking an ultra popular kids animated film and turning it into a musical comes with some risks, especially when the action spans the globe, taking in New York, an whole sway of Ocean, Antarctica and Madagascar. Add in the premise that all the lead roles are animals, and the supporting cast is basically penguins and lemurs and you have a recipe for disaster. But fear not, Madagascar the Musical is a fabulous hoot, a glorious riot of colour and song and a whole lot of fun for all the family. In fact, you could say it is totally roarsome (sorry! couldn’t resist).
If you love the film, then you will be familiar with the story. Marty is a zebra living in the New York Zoo. Born there, he has never really experienced any other life. His best friends are the lion Alex, the King of the Zoo, the hypochondriac giraffe Melman, and the hippo Gloria. But a chance encounter with a group of penguins set on escaping from the zoo gives Marty the idea of finding out what life is like on the outside, setting in motion a chain of events that sees him and his friends washed up on the shores of Madagascar, meeting King Julian and his hilarious troop of lemurs. But what happens when wild animals go back to nature and start resorting to their natural instincts, will the friends become the hunter and his prey?
The cast is fabulous, with Matt Terry in fine voice as Alex, clearly so well suited to the stage and this role. Antoine Murray-Straughan is fine foil for Matt, a brilliant dancer with great athleticism which he brings to the role, it reminded me a little of the donkey in Shrek, but that can only be a good thing. Gloria, played by Timmika Ramsey is another in stunning voice, and with warmth and vibrancy that just shines on stage, whilst actor and puppeteer Jamie Lee-Morgan makes the whole audience fall in love with Melman the giraffe. But it is Jo Parsons as the hilarious King Julien who really steals the show, particularly during the super funny rendition of ‘I like to move it, move it’ the standout moment of the whole show. Add in The Floss and a bit of dabbing and he won the hearts of everyone in the house.
Madagascar is brilliant family entertainment that works on every level. The sets are just stunning, particularly when the animals are in their crates, whilst the puppets and standards of puppetry are flawless, the penguins and the lemurs are all so full of character and this is a testament to the standard of the puppeteers. There are jokes and funny moments on every level, ensuring that this is a show that can be watched and enjoyed together.
Madagascar is rip-roaring good fun!
Madagascar The Musical
New Alexandra Theatre
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