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Review of Amélie: The Musical at Manchester Opera House.

7 Aug 2019

Amélie: The Musical has opened at the Opera House Manchester and we went along to check it out. Here is what we thought. 

Tonight, we went along to the opening night of Amélie: The Musical, which is currently showing at the Opera House Manchester. After several weeks of entertaining the kids over the summer holidays, I was ready for a grown up night out. What I got instead was a grown up fairy tale….and I couldn’t have left happier.

Based on the 2001 film of the same name, it follows the story of Amélie Poulain, who is not allowed to play with other children due to her supposed heart defect. Growing up alone, she continues into adulthood as a recluse, living instead through her imagination. She finds joy by constructing small acts of kindness for those around her, but refuses to integrate properly with the people she meets….until she stumbles upon a man who she thinks could be just like her.

047 Amelie The Musical Pamela Raith Photography EDIT

From the very outset, the staging is magical, immediately transporting the audience to Paris. Whether the backdrop is being used as the cafe that Amélie works at, or her apartment (which incidentally I would love to live in), the detailing captures the very essence of the fairytale that is about to unfold.    

As the cast takes to the streets, carrying instruments, and singing a song of the flight of the blue fly and about how we are all connected, the audience gets to meet the people that walk by everyday on the street. In the midst of it all, we meet Amélie (played by French-Canadian Audrey Brisson). As the musical opens, we are given an insight into her upbringing, and adult Amélie narrates the younger girl Amélie, played very effectively by a puppet. 

The music throughout the play consistently pulls at the heart strings. Don’t expect hit songs to be belted out to a crescendo. This musical is more subtle, more soulful and just that little bit more special. The supporting cast are constantly on stage, producing the music which is heart and soul to the story that unfolds.      

The choreography was a joy to watch, moving the tale along nicely and adding excitement as Amélie passes through crowds, takes a train ride or constructs her acts of kindness.

013 Amelie The Musical Pamela Raith Photography

Audrey Brisson was spectacular as petite Amélie. She had a lovely voice and delivered a performance that was both quirky and mischievous.   Danny Mac’s Nino was a perfect match, with a soulful voice that paired well with Brisson’s. 

The entire supporting cast made for a fantastic team; there wasn’t a weak performance, and what a multi-talented crew they are.  Most of them played a couple of roles, whilst playing instruments, and had some complex choreography thrown in too. Director Michael Fentiman demanded a lot from them – and they delivered it with gusto. 

If you have seen the film version, make sure you see this too because it will make you fall in the love with the tale all over again, and if you haven’t seen the film, don’t bother. See this musical version instead. 

Watching Amélie The Musical left me feeling like I had had a little holiday from reality, the whole tale was magical from beginning to end. And judging by the applause and the comments around me as the show ended, a lot of people felt the same. So book that babysitter, and treat yourself to a little Parisian adventure….in Manchester.

Amélie The Musical is on at the Opera House, Manchester until 10th August 2019, before touring throughout the UK. 

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