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Review | Madagascar | Manchester Opera House | 08/02/2024

Based on the 2005 blockbuster animation film of the same name comes Madagascar The Musical! We follow Alex the Lion and his collection of animal friends who escape the confines of New York's Central Park Zoo. However, after a lifetime of being looked after by zookeepers, is life outside all its cracked up to be?

The show is wise to closely follow the narrative of the film, allowing for a sense of familiarity. This resulted in many of the younger audiences being transfixed. It is an easy watch, which works in its favour. It would have perhaps been nicer to see a slightly longer show where new dynamics could have been brought into play. At times it feels like it is catering mainly to the youngest audience members, whereas the film appealed to older children and adults alike.

Costuming was fun, with the puppetry being a highlight. By using puppetry, the look and feel of characters from the film are delivered on stage. The stage itself is framed by a collection of wooden crates which are utilised in various ways. Staging is colourful and fun throughout, keeping things visually stimulating without the need for flashier sets.

Musically it could have easily leaned into the jukebox genre, borrowing known songs from elsewhere. However, Madagascar have mostly created their own soundtrack. Unfortunately the songs are largely forgettable. However, the inclusion of ‘I Like To Move It’ had the Manchester crowd dancing and clapping along. This is no doubt helped by the brilliant Karim Zeroual who plays the lively King Julian! Zeroual really injected a slice of fun and heightened the energy in the second act. In fact, the whole cast are fantastic and between them carry the show.

Is Madagascar going to set the world alight? Perhaps not, but maybe that this isn’t its aim. It is a fun family show which will get many a youngster into the theatre. Madagascar is on at Manchester Opera House until Sunday 11 February 2024.

Note: My ticket was gifted. Irrespective of whether a show is gifted or bought, I always ensure that my reviews are fair and based on my honest opinion alone.


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