Madagascar makes its way onto the theatre stage, having firmly established itself as a family favourite film with two sequels. The stage version is a great family show with enough identifiable elements for the film fans. Songs from the film are weaved together with catchy new tunes to build an good musical production that will have any child humming as they leave. However, a live band would have enhanced the production further.

Photo Credit: Scott Rylander

The story, for anyone who has not seen the film, is about how a group of animal friends from the New York Zoo escape to find their freedom in the wild. However through a series of unfortunate events, they end up on a container ship, which is wrecked in the southern seas and they are washed up on the island of Madagascar where they meet King Julian (Jo Parsons). The story centres on the uncomfortable realisation that they are not perhaps as cut out for life in the wild as they thought. Alex (Brandon Gale) is an attention hungry Lion, Melman (Jamie Lee-Morgan) a hypochondriac Giraffe, Gloria (Timmika Ramsey) a sassy Hippo and Marty (Antoine Murray-Straughan) an adventurous Zebra. This mismatch gives the show its comic possibilities and warmth.

Each of the animal characters are given a distinct looks and some involve clever use of puppetry techniques. Melman’s outfit is especially effective as his long giraffe’s neck is expertly animated by Jamie Lee-Morgan. The penguins are very amusing and their accents spot on. The only criticism of the visual appeal of show is that of some of the characters costumes, the colour of Alex’s costume and mane is not as regal as perhaps expected. Gloria is not as glorious as she could have been as a hippo . Having said that, Marty is a fantastic highlight with his comic timing and monochromatic mane. King Julien is humorous with his comic timing and children focused jokes.

The staging gives a great impression of the scenes, and easily interchanged between the zoo, the ship and the wilds of Madagascar. There is nothing threatening in the productions, and the shorter running time is suitable for younger audiences. This is a bold and colourful show that families will enjoy.

Madagascar is running at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking until 16th March 2019.

Madagascar The Musical