Madagascar the Musical
“despite having some flaws, it was a good show”
Despite not being the right demographic for this show, myself and my boyfriend went along to Madagascar the Musical at Wales Millennium Centre earlier this week. I am a massive fan of the film and was excited to see how they put this classic Dreamworks story on the stage. Despite having some flaws, it was a good show and certainly one that little ones will love.
Unfortunately, I found the majority of the first act quite flat and slow moving. The scenes were nearly word-perfect from the film, meaning that yes it was memorable and clearly linked to the film, but certain jokes didn’t fit for the stage, and didn’t receive the laughs that maybe the cast were expecting. When the penguins try to dig through the ground with a spoon for example, this was just too small to replicate effectively on the stage and the joke was lost amongst the audience.
The fact that the animals don’t even get to Madagascar until the second act made the entire first act seem to drag quite a bit, despite being only a 40 minute half.
While the scenery, costumes, puppets and general ambience of the show was outstanding, I found myself less than impressed with the cast. Despite being in the role for a year already, I found Matt Terry to have mediocre stage presence. Being an X-Factor winner, he definitely had great vocals and the right stature for King of the New York Giants, Alex the Lion, but his accent was poor, and he rushed so many lines I found it hard to hear what he was saying. Overall it was a good performance, but nothing to rave about.
Posi Morakinyo, similarly as Marty the Zebra I found rushed some of his lines, but definitely came into his own as the show progressed. He had great vocals and even better dance moves to be the perfect Zebra. I didn’t enjoy Conor Dyer‘s as Melman the hypochondriac giraffe as instead of being an awkward and funny character, I found him awkward and cringey, with few of his comedic lines getting any response from the audience. However, I do have to praise his ability to play Melman, as his puppetry skills were fantastic, and I can appreciate the difficulty in this.
My favourite of the four leads was Hannah Victoria as sassy Gloria the Hippo. All three of her acting, singing and dancing abilities were on point and she owned the stage perfectly.
When the animals do arrive in Madagascar, Kieran Mortell as King Julien not only steals the show, but saves it too. I, along with all the adults and children in the auditorium, was laughing my head off at his performance. From his brillant accent, perfectly delivered lines, singing and dancing, Mortell is the true star of this show.
William Beckerleg, Gareth Moran, Monique Ashe-Palmer and Anna Barnes as the pesky penguins and lemurs on the island did a superb job, not only in their movement and vocals, but also in their puppetry. They could be seen at all times behind their puppets which I feared would ruin it a little, but all four were brilliantly in character at all times, that it only enhanced the performance. William Beckerleg especially deserves a mention for his superb vocals that replicated the film.
I found the show strange in the way that the first act was such a replica of the film, whereas the second act was quite different. I definitely would have preferred it if the animals had reached the island earlier, but it was still an enjoyable show.
As aforementioned, the set was brilliant and I especially liked the scene where the animals were in their boxes on the ship…if you’ve seen the film you’ll know what I mean! The puppetry and costumes were fab, and overall the show was funny, colourful and entertaining. I spoke to some mums who had brought children with them, ranging from about 4 years to 11 years old, and all of them agreed that it was the perfect show for little ones, and the perfect “big” theatre show to start them off.
I, obviously, am hugely passionate about theatre, and really do encourage bringing children to the theatre, so the fact that Madascar is a musical that children will recognise is surely a good thing to introduce children to theatre at a young age and spark that love for the arts that everyone should have. With tickets from £16 you can’t go wrong!