Touring – reviewed at Edinburgh Playhouse
Guest reviewer: Sarah Moyes
Madagascar may have been a hugely popular animated movie, but unfortunately, the musical adaptation fails to hit the right notes.
Madagascar The Musical is obviously hoping to follow in the success of such screen-to-stage hits as Shrek or The Lion King. This Selladoor touring production follows a group of animals from New York’s Central Park Zoo. When Marty the zebra discovers that a group of penguins are planning to escape, he joins them in a bid to break away from his life in captivity, followed by Gloria the hippo and Melman the giraffe.
After a brief run around in the city, the group find themselves on a ship headed to King Julien’s Madagascar for a new adventure. X Factor winner Matt Terry takes on the show’s lead role as Alex the lion, the king of the urban jungle who is used to being served steak rather than having to fend for himself. This is Terry’s debut acting role and he shows a lot of promise giving a strong performance, which is made even better by his incredible singing voice.
The rest of the cast is entertaining with Antoine Murray-Straughan as Marty the zebra, Jamie Lee-Morgan as Melman the giraffe and Timmika Ramsay as Gloria the hippo.
As the friends reach Madagascar in the second act, however, it is Jo Parsons who really shines as King Julien the Lemur, with children laughing along with his hilarious accent.
While there are parts of the script which are enjoyable – mainly Melman’s medical worries about a splinter to his yellow skin being jaundice – there’s just not enough substance here for it to be up there with similar musical adaptions of animated movies. With a running time of just an hour and 45 minutes (including an interval), the story feels very condensed, with not enough time for you to become fully invested before the curtain is down and the house lights are back on.
The animal puppets, designed by Max Humphries, and the costumes by Laura Rushton and Robert Allsopp are what really stands out in this production. They are bright and colourful, and really bring the show to life.
The songs here are upbeat and entertaining enough, but it’s the well-known song Move It, Move It that really gets the audience going. So much so that it appears twice in the second act. The rest of the songs aren’t very memorable. But that being said the cast can certainly sing when given the chance.
Madagascar The Musical is very much a show that only young children will enjoy. Unlike other kids shows, however, there’s just not nearly enough adult content to keep them entertained too.
This might be a good way to introduce children to the world of theatre, but overall it just lacks the punch which could have turned it from an average show to a great one.
Running time: one hour and 45 minutes (including one interval)
Edinburgh Playhouse, 18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA. Phone booking: 0844 871 3014
Tuesday 2 – Saturday 6 October 2018
Evenings: 7pm; Matinees Weds, Sat: 2.30pm.
(NB. Note earlier – 7pm, evening start!)
Tickets: Click here to buy online.
Madagascar the Musical website: http://madagascarthemusical.co.uk/
Madagascar – The Musical on tour 2018/19:
2 – 6 Oct
0844 871 3014
09 – 13 Oct
0844 871 3012
16 – 20 Oct
23 – 27 Oct
01274 432 000
6 – 10 Nov
028 7126 4455
12 – 17 Nov
4 – 8 Dec
0844 871 7650
Tour continues in 2019:
29 Jan – 2 Feb 2019
0300 300 035
5 – 9 Feb
08448 713 017
19 – 23 Feb
0118 960 6060
26 Feb – 2 Mar
Theatre Royal/Takeover Festival
5 – 9 Mar
0116 296 1236
12 – 16 Mar
0844 871 7645
19 – 23 Mar
0151 666 0000
2 – 6 April
8 – 13 Apr
01463 234 234
23 – 27 Apr
Grand Opera House
30 Apr – 4 May
0844 871 3020
7 – 11 May
14 – 18 May
21 – 25
01792 475 715
28 May – 1 Jun
01482 300 300