Thursday, 26 July 2018

REVIEW: Madagascar at the New Wimbledon Theatre

Selladoor and Hartshorn-Hook Productions brings Madagascar to the stage in a new musical production, touring the UK until next year. 

The show as a whole is very close to the film, which is wonderful for the children who are in love with it, but this also means nothing was fresh or different. The use of puppetry was good, the actual design of the puppets could have used a little more flexibility because the movement wasn’t really animal like, but it was very well directed and executed by the cast

For a children’s show, it was good quality. For a musical, it did not achieve what you expect. The music was good, not particularly catchy but OK for what it was. The high point of the show was the choreography by Fabian Aloise; high energy, slick and very contagious! We all wanted to join in with them. 

The headliner of the show is 2016 X Factor winner Matt Terry; although his vocals were fantastic, his acting ability left a lot to be desired. He shone in the musical numbers but failed to deliver any kind of real emotion in the text whist also looking very awkward on stage when not singing. 

Marty, the Zebra, is being played by Antoine Murray-Straughan. Although his rapping in the role was fantastic and his dance ability was outstanding, his singing did not match up to the rest of the cast and was quite weak. But I will commend him on not doing a cliché performance, it wasn’t too much but was still engaging enough for the audience. 

Jamie Lee-Morgan played Melman, the giraffe, although his performance was excellent he blended in to the background because he was the only principle cast using puppetry. 

The use of puppetry was good but didn’t fulfil its potential. King Julien was on
his knees, like Lord Farquard in Shrek, and the rest of the monkeys were puppets with the principle cast in ‘Cats’ style costumes. For me, it just didn’t all match up. 

Two stand outs were Timmika Ramsay (Gloria, the Hippo) and Jo Parsons (King Julian), As a recent graduate, Timmika played the role of Gloria with great humour and a voice to match. I can’t wait to see more from her in the future. Jo was by far the best thing about the show, act one was quite dull but when he came on in act two it brightened the mood and got the audience going. 

The show was nothing new or fresh, save yourself some money and put the film on because the only difference is a set fresh from Chessington World of Adventures. 

Review by Mark Swale 

Rating: ★★

Seat: G17, Dress Circle | Price of ticket: £42.90
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