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REVIEW | Madagascar the Musical - UK Tour - Sheffield Lyceum

AD - Tickets gifted in exchange of an honest review.

(Photo Credit: Phil Tragen)

The much-loved Dreamworks animation Madagascar, has come to the stage in a musical…yes you heard me right Madagascar the Musical, directed by Kirk Jameson, written by Kevin Del Aguila, music and lyrics by George Noriega and Joel Someillan and choreography by Fabian Aloise.

Madagascar the Musical is based on the original Dreamworks film, as Alex and the gang escape from New York’s central park zoo, and take the journey across the world to Madagascar, to find the one and only King Julien. 

Madagascar the Musical runs for 1 hour and 40 minutes including an interval. Like always, my reviews are 100% honest and I will always justify my ratings, thoughts and feelings, always giving constructive feedback and my opinions are my own. 

Written by Kevin Del Aguila, Del Agulia does a good job to adapt the much-loved film to the stage. Del Agulia tries to write and adapt some familiar scenes, plot points and much-loved characters from the film for the stage really well and does this well enough. But whereas some are good, some of the writing fell a little short. The pace seemed a tad slow at the start, making Act 1 feel that you couldn’t quite get into it as much as you should. But when Act 2 began the atmosphere felt more lifted and a little more upbeat. Del Aguila writes simply and gets rid of any complications that aren’t needed, with also writing a few funny bits of dialogue which does result in the audience laughing. Del Aguila does try to create a stage version of the film well, and tackles the elements that the stage can’t give as much as an animation can, and condensing it to an 1 hour and 40, Del Aguila does a really good job. I do admire the work that has been done to make you feel that the film is alive on stage. 

The music and lyrics by George Noriega and Joel Someillan, with both parts trying to look for something that will work together, the majority of the song's score was upbeat and suited to the show, but I personally wanted more from the songs themselves. Especially when you compete with the iconic song ‘I like to move it move it’.

Direction by Kirk Jameson, from screen to stage is something everyone thinks about, questioning, how will they do it? Jameson looks upon directing this show to not be over complicated, small and easy to follow, which is done well. Jameson finds ways of creating scenes from the film effectively and creatively as possible and executes them with a skilled ability and makes the direction feel somewhat animated-esque. Jameson's shows great adaptability skills towards the production with showing friendship, the journey and life at the zoo, very nicely.

(Photo Credit: Phil Tragen)

The whole cast pushes energy into the show, the cast show some really good animated movement that does go with Jameson's direction, and acting choices in their characters, with really playing and trying to show the likeness / similarity to their animated character on stage, which probably added and brought familiarity for the audience. 

Joseph Hewlett plays the leader, Alex the Lion. Hewlett shows great charisma as Alex and adds playful energy to the character. Hewlett looks for places to show the animated film characterisation of Alex, with Hewlett’s vocals being really good and are really great to hear. 

Karim Zeroual plays the iconic character King Julien. Zeroual gets most of the laughs from the audience, with Zeroual being fun and quite loveable. Zeroual felt at ease on stage and showed great talent through King Julien's time on stage, especially in the comedy moments. 

Overall the cast came together to bring your favourite animated characters alive on stage, and not just the Zoo Friends, Alex (Joseph Hewlett), Marty (Francisco Gomes), Gloria (Jarnéia Richard-Noel) and Melman (Joshua Oakes-Rogers), but the cast behind the puppetry of the Penguin's, Lima's and Monkey. Was great to hear the reaction of the audience as they saw their favourite characters on stage.

Choreographed by Fabian Aloise, Aloise creates some playfulness that are lively and enthusiastic choreography which also adds to the cast's animated movements and Jameson’s animated like direction, while also adding something to the upbeat score. 

The show has a lot of puppetry, the puppetry design by Max Humphries is impressive and clever. Humphries puppet design looks like a realistic take on your favourite on screen characters and has an array of details and clever ways on how the cast puppeteered them. 

Tom Rogers, Set and Costume Design are both very good, with the majority of the set feeling like a base and was able to take advantage of the fly in pieces of scenery to make the change in location, and the costume being bright and colourful. Both the set and costumes definitely gave the audience the feel of watching the animated movie on stage. 

All in all Madagascar the Musical is great in some of its elements with the puppetry, set and costume. But I do have to admit unfortunately some areas fell short such as the songs and script in what they were hoping and needing to achieve. There is no doubt that the creative team would have worked hard to collaborate on all aspects of this production. This is not to say that the show isn’t good, it is but unfortunately for me not all round. If I was 10 years younger I would have loved this show and given it the highest rating I could possibly think of, but unfortunately this time the show didn’t do it for me this time around. Madagascar the Musical is for sure for families and the younger ones who will ‘move it, move it’ to their favourite! 


Madagascar the musical plays at the Sheffield Lyceum until Saturday 25 May.


(Photo Credit: Phil Tragen)

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