From master puppetry to highly commendable performances, Madagascar the Musical relives and re-invents a well loved film on to the stage. We are introduced to recognisable characters in a modern day form, that gauge our attention and provide humour to a variety of audience ages. Emmy Award winning writer Kevin Del Aguila shows his worth by writing yet another smash adaptation. The plot still holds very much true to the film, yet avoiding what could be deemed unnecessary filler considering this predominantly a family and kids theatrical occasion.
Themes surrounding friendship, teamwork and unification pull in the attention of every spectator, as we view the four zoo animals get accidentally stranded on Madagascar island after an altercation upon escaping from Central Park Zoo. Testing scenarios, dangerous endeavours and a performance packed full of laughs for the old and young cements this story in the catalogue of adaptations that should not be missed.
Tom Rodgers visually transforms the stage in a very short Act One into a fitting scene for the narrative to unfold, with revolving and extending cage-like set and a city backdrop, immersing you into Central Park with the rest of the gang, Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria and the lively, mischievous penguins who were all born and live in captivity at the zoo. Act Two presents us with an impressive transformation from the set in Act one, with more colour, trees and overall jungle setting to represent the characters adventure into Madagascar. This lively environment is matched perfectly with the boost of energy and overall performance engagement that is apparent in the second half, with a show stopping and recognisable number that got the crowd clapping and singing along wanting to get on their feet to ‘Move it Move it!’
Director Kirk Jameson played a fitting homage to the original DreamWorks feature film, with subtle nuances towards character movement and animalistic behaviour. Matt Terry strut his stuff, Murray-Straughan perfected the zebra prance and Ramsay’s bootylicious hippopotamus and Lee-Morgan’s lanky swaying giraffe, all make you truly forget that there is an actor beneath the puppets. It must be difficult when directing such an already perfected and successful story to stamp ones own mark. But by superbly taking influence from the film, Jameson has created a performance that equals that of similar reinventions.
Antoine Murray-Straughan as Marty the white with black stripes, or black with white stripes zebra was a particular standout performance. His movement throughout the entire production, especially during the largely impressive choreographed numbers was eye catching executed well and highly engaging. Murray-Straughan enjoyed this task to entertain us and successfully achieved in captivating every member of the audience with his one liners and highly amusing impersonation of
The question on 99% of the audience minds surely had to be when and how would King Julien make his entrance, and would it be exactly what we wanted? Well as soon as Jo Parsons kneeled, yes kneeled, his was onto the stage, and delivered his first line, he had us in the palm of his hands. Gags were repeated potentially passed the point at which they were meant to be, but it did not matter as I could have quite literally sat all evening just listening to Parson’s tell the entire story of
King Julien and his whole life. By far the funniest character in the performance and definitely gave the younger members of the audience a whole heap of playground stories to tell the following day.
Madagascar is being performed at the Liverpool Empire Theatre from the 5th-9th February before it continues its tour in to different locations until the 19th October 2019, so click here to grab your tickets whilst you still can.
Overall I rate this performance 4 stars, definitely one for the family, or for those just wanting to
watch a highly entertaining and comical piece of theatre.