Reviewed by Catherine Joyce
In our experience films turned into theatre productions are either excellent or a huge disappointment. Madagascar the Musical fell somewhere in the middle, I only vaguely remembered the story so took the musical at face value and really enjoyed it but my 12-year-old son, who has watched the film many times, thought it omitted too many vital parts.
Following the story of the Dreamworks 2005 film, the musical is a simple tale of the adventures of four animal friends as they travel from their comfortable home in Central Park Zoo, New York to the wilds of Madagascar. Marty the zebra, celebrating his 10th birthday has grown bored of life in the zoo and decides to experience the wild. When his friends discover he is missing they set off to find him, hoping to bring him back before morning. They’re soon captured and this leads to one of the best scenes in the first half where the animals are drugged and don’t know quite what is happening. The animals then find themselves on a ship bound for Kenya however the penguins, who want to go to Antarctica, overpower the captain and take over the ship. The crate with the animals in falls in the sea and is washed up in Madagascar.
The costumes were excellent with the four main actors immediately recognisable as their cartoon counterparts. Jamie Lee-Morgan, who played Melman the giraffe, was fantastic, his portrayal of the hypochondriac giraffe was spot on. Many of the other characters in the show, particularly the penguins and lemurs were puppets operated by the cast, this worked very well bringing the smaller characters to life. The whole show is lively, fun and colourful and had a real party atmosphere with Jo Parsons, playing lemur King Julian, the real star of the show. His rendition of “Move it, move it” was hilarious and enjoyed by everyone in the theatre, children and adults alike.
The Opera House in Blackpool is blessed with a huge stage and good visibility from almost anywhere in the theatre, unfortunately this was not used to its full with the scenery narrowing down the area visible and making the edges and rear of the stage impossible to see from some seats. As King Julian revealed the skeletons of the crew of the aircraft we barely saw anything, people sat any further away would have seen nothing.
This is a short musical with two 40 minute halves and is perfect for children, with a 7pm start we were out of the theatre by 8:45, giving us just enough time for a drive through Blackpool’s world famous Illuminations.
Blackpool Opera House is in the town centre so there is plenty of parking available, we paid £3.00 to park on a car park a few minutes walk from the theatre. With the show starting at 7pm we didn’t have time for a drink before the show started but if we had there were plenty of places to choose from.
We had a great night out and would certainly recommend this show.
Tickets cost from £10 (booking fees may apply).
Madagascar The Musical is at the Blackpool Opera House from 11-15 September 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk or call the box office on 0844 856 1111.
Winter Gardens & Opera House Theatre, 97 Church Street, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY1 1HL