Review Madagascar The Musical Opera House Manchester
Madagascar The Musical has arrived in Manchester bringing the feel of the tropics to the Opera House stage.
The stage show is based on the popular 2005 Dreamworks cartoon movie, Madagascar.
The Musical has the same plot as the film a group of animal best friends from Central Park Zoo find themselves on the island of Madagascar after an accidental escape.
The first half show introduces Alex The Lion, AKA the king of New York and his best friend Marty The Zebra. Whilst Alex loves zoo life and all its perks, Marty dreams of what life could be like in the wild.
When he sees the zoo’s penguins planning an escape and learning that the ‘wild’ is in Connecticut which is just a train ride away he decides it’s time for himself to get a taste of freedom.
However, Alex and Marty’s other friends Gloria a sassy hippo and Melman a hypochondriac giraffe try to bring him back.
Of course, animals running around Manhattan won’t stay at large for long and after hilarious encounters with the New Yorkers, they are captured. Instead of being returned to the zoo, they awake to find themselves in crates on a cargo ship.
Joseph Hewlett plays the ever-enthusiastic lion Alex well, with Francisco Gomes capturing the charm of the rebellious Marty.
Melman (Joshua Oakes-Rodgers) is the only character from the main animal friends who is portrayed via a puppet (well puppet head) and you find yourself forgetting that you are watching an actor.
Jarnei Richard-Noel as Gloria also plays her role down to the tee, showing she has a singing voice as big as her character.
However, it is in the second half when the animals find themselves stranded in Madagascar, when we meet the main standout of the evening, CBBC’s Karim Zeroual as Lemur King Julien.
As the animals start to explore their new home they save some extremely cute lemurs from the Island’s carnivores, King Julien encourages them to live with the lemurs and to be their protectors
From the moment Zeroual entered the stage, he had both the adults and children in the audience in stitches which didn’t stop throughout. Watch out for the hilarious “I Like To Move It Move It’ song, which you will be signing into the next day.
More laughs ensue as King Julien tries to get the gang to adapt to the wild, which is taking its toll on the steak-loving Alex.
It is not easy transferring a film to a stage show and even harder when it comes to a cartoon and I am glad to say Madagascar didn’t disappoint.
The staging, scenery and costumes are all done exceptionally well and the puppets such as the penguins, monkey and lemus all help to bring the animated characters to life.
Recommended for children aged 3 years and over it is certainly aimed at younger audiences.
The show is only an hour forty-five minutes including the interval, ideal for little ones.
This did mean that some of the film’s story was missed out, however, this didn’t seem to bother my 11-year-old daughter who thoroughly enjoyed it. The younger kids around us also seemed completely mesmerised throughout.
Madagascar the Musical is running at Opera House Manchester until Sunday 11th February and will make a treat.
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