The Other Palace, London – until 1 February 2020
In what has felt like an inordinately long year, Amélie the Musical captured my heart a long time ago. It was April to be precise, when this beautiful actor-musician show debuted in the gorgeous intimacy of the Watermill and then as it set off on a UK tour, I couldn’t help but go back a month later for second helpings, which I enjoyed just as much. So could I resist a third trip after a London residency was booked in at The Other Palace? What do you think?!
First off, it feels great to finally see The Other Palace fulfilling the actual need that exists in London theatre but one which is rarely met, in providing a mid-size home for touring musicals, allowing them to establish a foothold here without the pressures of filling a West End house just yet. It helps that Michael Fentiman’s production of Amélie the Musical was originally conceived en bijou but this just feels like the right home for it, right now.
And performance-wise, it has lost nothing of its extraordinary depth of feeling. Riding a wave of sweet-sharp emotion, I found myself crying more than ever at its miniature portrayals of life gone slightly awry (the aching nuance of Jez Unwin’s Bretodeau is just glorious) and the will-they-won’t-they-what-even-is-a-happy-ending interplay between Audrey Brisson’s Amélie and Chris Jared’s Nino feels like the most 2019 depiction of modern relationships you could hope for, even if the show is ostensibly set in 1997.