This week has been pretty full on at work, so I deputised the press night of Madagascar the Musical at the New Theatre, Oxford to my Mum, an avid musicals fan. Here are her thoughts…
I was not sure what to expect when invited to see Madagascar the Musical, although having seen the 2005 animated film, how would this translate to the stage? My concern was that it would be a poor man’s Lion King. I need not have worried as from the moment the curtain was up it became evident this much-loved movie was in good hands and that this colourful, energetic and whimsical performance from the talented cast was a winner and true to the original film!
The story begins
The story begins at the Central Park Zoo, Marty the zebra is celebrating his 10th birthday, but has grown bored with his daily routine and longs to experience the wild and so escapes from the zoo.
Thus begins the journey of 4 friends, Alex the lion aka “King of New York City” (a title that carries some celebrity status at the zoo!), Melman the giraffe, and Gloria the hippopotamus who pursue Marty, via Grand Central Station in an attempt to convince him to return.
Their journey leads them to Madagascar where they encounter other friendly and unfriendly animals. Seeing how difficult it is to survive with so many predators around the island and Alex, compelled by hunger turning to his predatory nature, Marty begins to regret his decision to leave the zoo and the four friends agree to return to the City.
A lovely strong bond of friendship comes through in their combined performances, particularly between Alex and Marty. X Factor winner Matt Terry shines as Alex, his voice is wonderfully strong with a flourish of falsetto. Marty played by Antione Murray-Straughan’s rapping, athletic Zebra is the perfect best friend.
Gloria, played by Timmika Ramsay gives a fine performance with shades of diva and plenty of comedy moments with Jamie Lee-Morgan’s, hypochondriac giraffe, Melman.
The very talented ensemble, who play everything else from lemurs to penguins -Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private who escape the zoo-bound for Antarctica, really shine leaping seamlessly from puppetry to keeper.
Star of the night
Credit for the song of the evening goes to Jo Parsons playing the lemur, King Julien, and cast, with a hilarious rendition of ‘Move it, Move it’. Jo’s madcap mannerisms had the audience singing along in their seats and chuckling throughout. It was a popular choice for the finale.
A show not exclusively for kids (we were sat in an audience of very mixed ages), with something for all. Excellent cast, energetic dance numbers, great design and costumes, upbeat and fun-filled songs, with the odd ballad which helps drive home the message of friendship. A good family show!
Tickets can be purchased from the New Theatre box office on George Street, by ringing 0844 871 3020 or by visiting our website at www.atgtickets.com/oxford