Madagascar, the hugely successful and star studded Dreamworks film of 2005, has been adapted to the stage. It is now showing for six days during the school holidays at the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC), Cardiff. But can the musical really live up to the film which is loved by so many, adults and kids alike? Read on for the Madagascar the Musical review.
Thank you to the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC), Cardiff for inviting us to the opening of Madagascar the Musical. Our Madagascar the Musical Review, is as always, based on our own honest views.
In short, the musical adaptation of Madagascar ticks all the right boxes. It is a fast paced, colourful extravaganza packed with boppy (but largely forgettable) tunes and jazzy dance routines with flossing buddies Alex the Lion and Marty the Zebra at the helm. On top of all that, at just 100 minutes long, it is perfect for little ones. It was all done and dusted by 9:00 p.m. so not too late at all.
I’m sure you need no reminding of the plot. But just in-case; The story starts at New York City Zoo with Alex the lion (played by X-Factor 2016 winner Matt Terry) king of the urban jungle. Alex is the mane attraction (see what I did there) and loves being looked after in blissful captivity. He spends his days with his friends Melman the giraffe (Connor Dyer), Gloria the hippo (Hannah Victoria) and his best bud, Marty the zebra (Posi Morakinyo). Whilst Alex loves his pampered lifestyle, his mate Marty dreams of life in the wild.
Marty manages to escape with the help of the prodigious penguins, but all does not go to plan. Whilst, Alex, Melman and Gloria try to bring Marty home, they fail miserably and end up on a container ship set for Africa. Things get even worse when those pesky penguins take command of the ship resulting in the crates all falling overboard. Marty, Alex, Melman and Gloria all end up washed ashore on Madagascar. They quickly find out that living in the wild really is, rather wild, and not as easy as life at the zoo.
Clearly this show is targeted at the kids, and based on their feedback I would say it is a resounding success. My fickle fidgety four year old was captivated through-out and only moved from her seat to dance along to ‘I like to Move it – Move it!’. I have to say my 9 and 11 year old boys loved it too. They were proper belly laughing in the second act when King Julien the lemur made his appearance.
Whilst for me, it did not compare to the likes of Shrek the Musical , I did really enjoy the show. Highlights for me were the steak scene, where Alex dreams of tucking into juicy steak and culminates in him trying to bite Marty’s bottom. I thought the three singing sirloins and the whole jazzy number was brilliant. I also loved every scene with King Julien (Kieran Mortell) at the helm as he was hilarious as the party loving lemur.
Whilst Mortell may have stolen the show, I have to say that the whole cast were impressive. They all somehow managed to broadly mimic the characters of the film which meant that the musical stayed very true to the film. This no doubt ensures it is a resounding hit with the younger audience who have fallen in love with the characters. Dyer and Beckerleg playing Melman and Skipper respectively were really spot on. So much so, that when Skipper first appeared I wondered whether they were using a voice over.
Terry, with his first theatre outing played Alex with confidence, belting out the tunes and dancing the routines with ease. He certainly won over the heart of my youngest who now proclaims to love Alex the Lion. Also impressive in his first professional theatre role since graduating was Morakinyo in his role as Marty the Zebra. Certainly one to watch.
It goes without saying that the staging, costumes and puppetry were fantastic. They were bright, colourful and there was always something going on to keep the little ones engaged throughout the show.
Madagascar the Musical Review – Our Verdict
For us it was wonderful to be able to see a family show that appealed to us all. Which is rare with a seven year age gap between the eldest and youngest. We found Madagascar the Musical to be a fun and charming production which we all enjoyed. I bet you your left flipper that if you go and see it you’ll leave there feeling chipper too.
But rather than take my word for it, here’s what my sons thought of the show:
“It was a spectacular show. The penguins and the lemurs sounded just like in the film and had all the same mannerisms too. I would just love to see it all over again”. – J – age 11
“It was amazing – the best show I have ever seen. King Julien was really funny and the giraffe was really good too. I want to go again because I loved it!!” – L – age 9
Madagascar the Musical is at the WMC and is showing until 11th August 2019. Tickets start at £16.00. Age guidance 3+, no under 2’s.
Booking at: www.wmc.org.uk
Thank you to Wales Millennium Centre for inviting us to the press night of Madagascar the Musical.
All photos courteous of the WMC.