Comical, colourful and completely charming, MADAGASCAR THE MUSICAL successfully brings the much-loved film to life on stage

Matt Terry as Alex The Lion in MADAGASCAR THE MUSICAL. Photo: Scott Rylander

Matt Terry as Alex The Lion in MADAGASCAR THE MUSICAL. Photo: Scott Rylander

Comical, colourful and completely charming, MADAGASCAR THE MUSICAL successfully brings the much-loved film to life on stage

When Dreamworks’ animated comedy MADAGASCAR first hit cinema screens back in 2005, it took the world by storm. Generating over two billion pounds for the studio, the franchise quickly spawned multiple sequels and spin-off films, including a stage musical which is currently on tour in the UK.

For those unfamiliar with the film, MADAGASCAR THE MUSICAL tells the story of four animals – Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo – who are catapulted from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo to a life in the wild. Unexpectedly stranded on the island of Madagascar, the four friends must try to find their way home before nature takes its course and Alex the Lion’s killer instinct returns.

The cast of MADAGASCAR THE MUSICAL. Photo: Scott Rylander

The cast of MADAGASCAR THE MUSICAL. Photo: Scott Rylander

Comical, colourful and completely charming, MADAGASCAR THE MUSICAL successfully brings the much-loved film to life on stage in an energetic whirl of puppetry, whimsical humour and dazzling design. Directed with pantomime zeal by Kirk Jameson, this playful and colourful musical makes the most of the relatively slight story, while George Noriega and Joel Someillan’s mixed bag of songs give choreographer Fabian Aloise enough room to embrace the show’s eccentricities. Expect a non-stop whirl of funky routines, cheesy dance moves (including the famous Fortnite) and plenty of shape throwing.

X-FACTOR 2016 winner Matt Terry makes an assured professional stage debut as Alex, pitching the character at just the right level to appeal to both adults and kids alike. His infectious enthusiasm and impressive falsetto in his early numbers make him a joy to watch although he is almost upstaged by the hugely comical Jo Parsons as the surreal, party-loving Lemur King Julien.

The cast of MADAGASCAR THE MUSICAL. Photo: Scott Rylander

The cast of MADAGASCAR THE MUSICAL. Photo: Scott Rylander

Elsewhere, Timmika Ramsay is strong as Gloria, bringing style and sass to the hungry hippo, Jamie Lee-Morgan is comical as the hypochondriac Giraffe Melman while Antoine Murray-Straughan’s freedom-craving zebra is the perfect best friend to Terry’s starstruck feline.

The first act is of the show is strong and fairly faithful to the film, but the second act lacks any real plot and Alex’s banishment and eventual redemption all seems a little rushed. It is here that the stage production misses out some of the finer details but still manages to hammer home the importance of friendship.

While Kevin Del Aguila’s script is tight and often funny, the production could also benefit from a few more innuendos and clever asides to entertain the adults fully.

The cast of MADAGASCAR THE MUSICAL. Photo: Scott Rylander

The cast of MADAGASCAR THE MUSICAL. Photo: Scott Rylander

That said, there is plenty to like here and the energy and enthusiasm by the cast is palpable. A special mention also must go to Max Humphries’ intricate and entirely convincing puppet designs, which are a delight to watch and keep even the most fidgety five-year-old transfixed.

With buckets of charm and plenty of goodwill, MADAGASCAR THE MUSICAL is a fun-filled family treat that is sure to make you smile. While the show may not boast enough catchy tunes to become a true musical classic, its pure uncomplicated fun make it an instant hit with the kids – what more could you ask for in the school holidays?

(4 / 5)

MADAGASCAR THE MUSICAL runs at the Palace Theatre, Manchester until 18 August 2018.

About Donna

Donna is the Editor of Frankly, My Dear UK. By day, she is a digital marketing whizz, by night she reviews film, theatre and music for a wide range of publications including WhatsonStage, The Public Reviews and ScreenRelish. Loves Shakespeare, prosecco and Formula 1