Tuesday, July 16

Madagascar The Musical – New Wimbledon Theatre

Get ready for an evening of fun, silliness and a spectacle that will leave you feeling like you want to move! Madagascar The Musical opens as a fresh and new take on the classic film that audiences know and love. With an exceptionally talented cast, fresh choreography and staging and an expertly achieved set, this show is a must-see for both children and adults.

One of the most impressive parts of this production is the superb execution of the set. Clearly well thought out and planned by Tom Rogers, it is the centrepiece for the whole show and makes it difficult to take your eyes away from the stage. The outside of the stage and the wings are decorated with crates to foreshadow the narrative, but act as an excellent backdrop for each story location. Though the New Wimbledon Theatre has a dynamic electronic screen which has been overused in past productions, in this show it is used subtly to create scenic backdrops which only enhanced the large set pieces and props on stage. Paired with artistic lighting and perfectly timed sound effects, the action on stage is cleverly brought to life.

Rogers’ talents are also showcased in his costume design. Bringing cartoon animals to life on stage is no easy feat, but the costumes and makeup encapsulate the essence of the animals making them believable, but also practical for the actors. The lion makeup on Alex, played by Joseph Hewlett, is particularly charming (as is his performance) and the contraption used to create the giraffe Melman’s head is innovative and clever, controlled skilfully by Joshua Oakes-Rogers. Francisco Gomez is endearing as the Marty the zebra, and his scenes with Hewlett highlighting their friendship are enjoyably moving. Hewlett manged to embody the movements of the cartoon lion surprisingly well. Jarnéia Richard-Noel provides the perfect girl power energy for Gloria the hippo, her outstanding vocal talent not showcased nearly enough, but a joy to hear when she has the chance.

One thing this show does not lack is energy. The entire cast and particularly the ensemble give their all during the performance and catchy numbers, making the whole audience want to join in with them when they “Like To Move It, Move It”. The introduction of the show and the characters is carried out well, setting the lively tone for the show. The ensemble are bursting with talent in this production, their ability to move between being diverse voice actors, dancers and puppeteers with such ease is beyond impressive. The puppetry of the penguins is well engineered, with the actors’ facial expressions and movements merging them into the action and performance. James Hilton-Foster’s ability to change his voice so drastically to voice the chimpanzee Mason is remarkable. The choreography by Fabian Aloise is somewhat simple but incredibly effective and slick, enhancing the production and making the dance numbers a real feature.

A final highlight of the production is King Julian in the second Act, played by Karim Zeroual, who provided huge comedy. The way he is able to join in the choreography and move on beat whilst on his knees is commendable. He leads the second Act and is an enormous crowd pleaser. This show is a family-friendly story of dreams, friendship and togetherness which doesn’t take itself too seriously and makes for a wonderful piece of entertainment.

Madagascar The Musical is now touring the UK until 24th August 2024, with more information and tickets to be found at: https://www.madagascarthemusical.co.uk/

Reviewer: Maani Way

Reviewed: 9th May 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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