Reviewed by Sarah Bryan
An absolutely roar-some performance from a truly crack-a-lackin cast!
A fun packed show for all ages; grab your popcorn, don your animal print top and go Move It!
There was a hardcore tough nut critic in the house last night. My 5-year-old daughter has watched the Madagascar films hundreds of times, knows all the words and adores all the characters and was bubbling over with eagerness to see it live on stage in musical form. Would it meet expectations…?
I will never tire at the architectural beauty of Aylesbury Waterside Theatre; it truly is a splendid structure and illuminates like a constellation of stars across Aylesbury town. As we weaved through groups of people taking selfies outside the main door, we entered the foyer which was awash with a hubbub of happy voices and hairy headbands gathering around the bar area and ordering from the plentiful selection of snacks and drinks. There was also a new small bar set up on the other side of the lobby selling merchandise, snacks and what looked to be a very popular slushie machine judging by how many children we spotted holding them. Everywhere was bustling and busy and as usual the front of house staff were seamless in their customer service skills; attentive, engaging with the young folk, helpful and happy.
As we entered into the stalls section of the auditorium, greeted by the warm soft furnishings against the vast flowing wooden decor, it was apparent that this theatre is as beautiful inside as it is out. Our section and the upper level were full to bursting as fans big and small took their seats.
The show burst into action to the applause of a high energy crowd in what was Madagascar the Musicals’ first day at Aylesbury and second performance of the day. The set was very cleverly constructed to blend a variety of scenes which flowed nicely and supported with the ambient lighting gave a subtle highlight to particular moods or occasion.
What was really marvellous were the costumes of the main characters. The very voluptuous Gloria the Hippo, the magnificently maned and muscular Alex the Lion, the gigantically gentle Melman the Giraffe and the wide hipped vivacious Marty the Zebra. The body suits were engineered to completely change the shape of the cast member within and really enhance the animal’s characteristics. What also worked well was how the puppeteers were used with the penguins; instead of dressing in black and hiding behind the puppet, they were fully clad in character outfits and a part of the show. This brought the penguins to life as the viewer blends the puppet with the movement and expression of the puppeteer to give a fuller experience.
The show was bouncy and light and full of fun, laughter and friendship as the 4 animal buddies set off on an adventure from New York Central Park Zoo to the wild wilderness of Madagascar with lots of calamity and hilarity along the way. It was nice that the musical stage show followed the storyline closely as it was familiar and generated tons of applause as the crowd eagerly awaited their favourite scenes. The audience erupted at King Julian’s antics and engaged with enthusiasm as the show reached its finale with a house shaking version of “Move It”.
We thoroughly enjoyed this show. It flowed nicely and was just the right length and pace and was enjoyed by all.
The star of the show; Alex the lion was played by 2016 X Factor winner Matt Terry who won the crowd over with his beautiful vocal skills and stage presence. Our favourite character was Marty the Zebra, played by the newly graduated Posi Morakinyo who has all the confidence and energy of a seasoned professional. Given that this is his first professional role; this guy is one to watch for the future. The entire cast were big, bold and bright and really gave it their all in what resulted in a high-quality performance.
My 5-year-old laughed at the jokes, bopped along to the songs and even though she was completely tired out at the end, talked over her favourite scenes and can’t wait to watch the film again this weekend.
As I sent her into school this morning, I could hear her telling her friends about her amazing night at the theatre so I think we can safely say that Madagascar the Musical passed the test with flying colours.
A well-deserved 5 stars.
Tickets cost from £13 (plus £3.65 transaction fee).
Madagascar the Musical is at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury from 19-22 September 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury or call the box office on 0844 871 7607.
Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1UG | 0844 871 7607