Dreamworks Madagascar the musical is currently touring the UK. It is at Bridlington Spa until Saturday the 22nd of September and then moves on to a large list of other venues such as Leicester Haymarket theatre, Edinburgh playhouse, Brighton Royal theatre and 21 other places. We have just returned from the first performance at the Bridlington Spa and I have to say that we thoroughly loved the show and it made such a refreshing change to the kind of theatre that my son is used to. This is a true theatrical musical that could easily run and run in the West End.
The Bridlington Spa
The Bridlington Spa has a fabulous setting right by the sea. There’s actually 2 theatres on the site and both are not what I was expecting. I was expecting new and modern and instead they are classic in design which is perfect for a visit to the theatre. There’s a bar for drinks before the performance and during the interval. There’s even somewhere to go for a roast dinner. Plus is you arrive after 6pm you can park on certain streets close by for free.
Review of Madagascar the Musical
Have you seen the film Madagascar? My five year old is a massive fan and would happily watch the section where the Lemur’s sing “I like to move it move it” over and over again. He sings it in the car, he writes it down in his lessons he is quite honestly in love with the film and the song. So when we saw that it was touring the UK as a musical we were thrilled to be able to attend one of the shows.
In a very brief synopsis the story of Madagascar is that of 4 animals who live in a zoo in New York plus a few military type penguins. There’s the lion Alex played by Matt Terry (a winner of X Factor) who loves raw steak. A giraffe called Melman with health issues, a friendly and loving hippo called Gloria and a zebra called Marty, played by Antoine Murray-Straughan, who dreams of living in the wild. They end up in the ‘wild’ but it’s not quite what everyone was expecting as they end up in Madagascar, which is full of Lemurs.
The show soon sets the scene of life in the New York zoo for the different characters. The costumes are excellent and there’s plenty of familiar lines included from the film. Of course this wouldn’t be a musical without plenty of songs which are upbeat and catchy. The choreography is excellent and true to how the characters come across in the film. This was great to see and perfect for my 5 year old.
The reason why I say that this is a good west end production is because of not just the sets, the costumes and the performances but the fact that it’s not the kind of show that relies on audience participation. It’s good at what it does and it doesn’t need pantomime type crowd interactions.
The penguins create an escape from the zoo which the zebra follows soon to be joined by the other 3 main characters. They end up roaming the streets and underground of New York which then leads to their capture which includes a dream like sequence which really showed off the singing abilities of the actors.
One of my favourite parts of the film is when they’ve all been captured and they end up in crates on a boat to a wildlife reserve in Kenya. The penguins take over the boat and the captain too which leads to the crates falling off the boat into the sea with the 4 main characters inside.
They then find themselves stranded on what appears to be a desert island but turns out to be Madagascar. Jo Parsons did a wonderful job of bringing King Julien the King of the Lemurs to life. He was hilarious with his one liners and enthusiasm. Especially during “I like to move it move it” there was even some flossing and a dab thrown in there for all the kids (and adults too!). Jamie couldn’t figure out how King Julien was so small and no matter how much I explained that he was walking around on his knees he still didn’t get it.
Alex the lion is very hungry in Madagascar as there’s not a lot of ‘ready steak’ for him to eat. He starts turning wild and tries to eat his dear friend Marty the Zebra. After some close encounters with the Lemur’s enemies the Fossas and the arrival of the penguins who have decided that Antarctica isn’t quite what they expected the show ends with them all living happily ever after.
I was quite relieved that the Fossas didn’t play too big a part in the musical as I feel that they may have frightened some of the smaller children. I had read a review before the show criticising them of this but I thought it wasn’t necessary for such a feel good, bright and happy show. Luckily there’s one more rendition of “I like to move it move it” which perked all the slightly sleepy kids up again. There was a good age range of kids attending from toddlers to much older. It was a great show and I urge you not to miss it. Although it’s a musical there was also plenty of talking which suits younger kids more as it’s easier for them to follow the story.
Disclaimer: We were provided with press tickets for the purpose of this review. All cast photos are courtesy of the production team and all words and opinions are entirely my own.
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