Madagascar the Musical (Touring) Review New Wimbledon Theatre
Madagascar is a firm family-favourite in our household; the original film was released in 2005, followed by it’s first sequel in 2008, then the next sequel in 2012; it is an animated film with a captive audience spanning over a decade. Could the new stage production really live up to all the hype of the movie franchise?
I was invited along with my husband and 2 year old daughter (nervous laugh) to the opening press evening. The red carpet was out in full force & as we arrived 45 minutes ahead of the show opening, hoards of excited children and their families lined the street outside the Theatre.
The show opened with a chimp appearing in one of the boxes informing the public of the house rules — to switch off phones, no filming or photography plus he threw in a gag about throwing poo at the audience if he caught them. My daughter was already chuckling by this point excitedly pointing “look mummy there’s a monkey” eyes wide as she took it all in.
If you’re unfamiliar with the storyline, it follows four main characters (Alex the Lion, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the Hippo & Marty the Zebra)— Central Park Zoo animals who attempt to escape from the Zoo and when caught, are mistakenly shipped back to Africa, getting shipwrecked on the island of Madagascar.
The production did not disappoint; it struck the perfect balance of hilarity and entertainment with upbeat tunes, cheesy dance moves & fabulous costumes, plus there was some adult humour thrown in; a joke about a rectal thermometer went down a storm with the adults.
Max Humphries puppetry was absolutely outstanding, you practically forgot there were actors controlling them — a huge accomplishment. The choreography was totally fabulous, I’m still humming ‘I like to move it move it’ this morning. My daughter loved Alex the Lion played by recent X Factor winner Matt Terry — definitely one of the ‘Mane’ attractions, his falsettos were incredibly impressive. Still got it. He pulled off a fantastic debut stage performance with confidence & style. The actors really got into their characters & even moved like the animals they were portraying.
The first half went by in a whizz and my daughter sat totally transfixed throughout the whole thing. At half time, my heart almost melted when she announced “that was good mumma, can we watch it again?” she was so excited when I told her we could go and get a ‘cocktail’ (juice) and then we’d be coming back for more.
The second half was (dare I say it) even more captive than the first; Jo Parsons portrayal of King Julien totally stole the show, he played the party loving Lemur King with sass & style and had the entire audience in hysterics.
Further characters to note; a solid & extremely entertaining performance by Timmika Ramsay as Gloria, the self-assured hippopotamus, utterly believable characterisation by both Jamie Lee-Morgan & Antoine Murray-Straughan as Melman & Marty, the hypochondriac Giraffe & the freedom-craving Zebra. Sometimes at theatre productions, you get that one character that doesn’t shine as brightly as the others, but I can honestly say, it was a sterling performance by everybody involved.
I was so impressed my 2 year old sat through the entire performance and was so animated herself afterwards, she couldn’t wait to call her nanny from the car to excitedly tell her all about the animals and her ‘date night’ with mummy & daddy. Would I go back to the theatre with a 2 year old? Absolutely. It also has to be noted, that whilst this show is targeted at children, it goes a long way to entertaining the adults too; even my husband commented how much he’d enjoyed (which is quite unheard of)!
I can highly recommend Madagascar to families with even the youngest of children; a fun evening at the theatre, perfect for a family outing during the summer holidays. You can expect; lots of jokes, on-point humour, dazzling design, cheesy yet crafty choreography & some superb singing. The show strikes the perfect balance with timings too; long enough to tell the perfect story, yet short enough to totally command attention & captivate even the youngest of children.
Well done to the production team and all the cast; you have pulled off the stage adaption of this much-loved family film perfectly.
BE WARNED: if you do book tickets and visit this weekend, you totally feel like you’re in Madagascar itself (unfortunately the theatre gets super hot, especially during a UK heatwave) so ensure you visit armed with lots of iced water and a giant fan. Phewwww!
Finally; a huge thank you to Holly at New Wimbledon Theatre for inviting us to review this fantastic stage adaption, we absolutely loved it 🙂