Touring – reviewed at the New Wimbledon Theatre, London
On a scorching summer night, the New Wimbledon Theatre played host to the opening of the high-energy, larger than life Madagascar The Musical. Based on the 2005 DreamWorks film of the same name, Madagascar follows a group of animals from the Central Park Zoo who find themselves in The Wild.
Fabian Aloise’s choreography is wonderfully modern whilst not being overly cheesy. The children accompanying me especially loved the flossing and it’s evident that Aloise know’s what the show’s target audience want. The cast of humans and ‘animals’ fill the space brilliantly and create a sense of motion throughout. This movement works hand in hand with Tom Rodgers’ sets which are simplistic but vibrant and transition us well from one location to another. Howard Hudson’s lighting is warming and especially effective in the more high-intensity group numbers where it feels like a party in the theatre.
The cast is superb; even in the sweltering heat they don’t falter and give us intensity and power from start to finish. Medically challenged giraffe, Melman is embodied perfectly by Jamie Lee-Morgan who wanders around the stage in a sombre but truly lovable manner whilst Tammika Ramsay as Gloria is sassy and commanding. As the zebra who dreams of escaping the zoo, Antoine Murray-Straughan is humorous and eccentric and his many talents are showcased especially during his brief rap and dance sections.
As the leader of the pack, Alex the lion, Matt Terry is impeccable. From his superb falsetto, riffs and generally beautiful tone, it’s clear why he was voted the winner of X Factor 2016. But, Terry’s acting and dance performance is equally as strong as he owns the stage and draws the audience into the story.
Watching the show you completely forget these are not the same characters from the film. The costumes and puppets are so cleverly done that you even forget there are real humans on stage! The ensemble do a stellar job of playing a number of characters and completely transform themselves right in front of our eyes. Mention must also go to Jo Parsons as King Julian who has the audience in the palm of his hand with his epic performance of Move It.
The music of Madagascar is genuinely catchy and it’s a show that both adults and children will appreciate and enjoy. If you want some light-hearted fun with a host of crazy characters and stellar performances then Madagascar is the one for you.
Madagascar runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until July 28th before continuing it’s tour.
photo credit: Scott Rylander