Madagascar the Musical is a stage version of the 2005 Dreamworks animated movie of the same name which features the voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith and Sacha Baron Cohen. I must admit, it isn’t a movie I’m totally familiar with, but both of my children enjoy watching it so my son was particularly excited when we were invited to the Press Night at the Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent.
AD – We were gifted 2 tickets for the purpose of this review. However, all thoughts are honest and entirely our own.
The plot of the show is uncomplicated and a potted version of the film: a group of animals escape from the zoo in America and end up in Madagascar where they have to learn to adapt to the wild. The message of the show is straightforward too: stay loyal to your friends, whatever happens. Oh, and try not to eat them, no matter how hungry you are!
The production is bright and colourful, the staging simple but successful, and the costumes are effectively reminiscent of the film. My 8 year old son thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie recreated on stage and seeing the familiar characters brought to life in front of his eyes. With a running time of 1h40 (including a 20 minute interval) it is perfect for children, meaning they’re not getting too tired and can sustain their concentration to the end.
The show is definitely more aimed at children than adults, and as an adult I wasn’t perhaps as wowed by the show as I was expecting to be, but my son certainly was, which is all that matters! The puppetry was masterful and great to watch and the voices of the puppet characters were cleverly characterised. Of the leads, Hannah Victoria as Gloria the hippo gave a credible performance and Connor Dyer successfully portrayed Melman the hypochondriac giraffe. X-Factor winner Matt Terry as Alex the lion has an absolutely fabulous voice and worked hard on stage, but perhaps needed to add a little more charisma to his characterisation.
Any energy that was lacking in the first half was certainly made up for after the interval when we met King Julien, played by Kieran Mortell. His enthusiasm and comedy brought the stage (and the audience!) to life and his rendition of Reel to Real’s “I Like To Move It” was certainly memorable! Moving around the stage on his knees (it has to be seen to be believed), with fabulous facial expressions and a suitably crazy voice he certainly makes the most of the role and had last night’s audience howling with laughter – his King Julien is certainly on a par with Sacha Baron Cohen’s movie counterpart!
Madagascar the Musical is an entertaining show for children and I can recommend it if you want to treat the kids to a fun night out. My 8 year old, certainly enjoyed the evening, saying it was “great fun” and “definitely as good as the movie” and we both spent the car journey home singing “I Like To Move It!” at the top of our voices!
Madagascar the Musical is on at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent until Sunday 29 September 2019. Wed & Sat: 2.30pm & 7.30pm; Thu & Fri: 7.30pm; Sun: 2.30pm. Tickets cost from £13 and can be bought here. For more information about the rest of the UK tour click here.
Parking for the Regent Theatre
We recommend that you park on the John Street multi-storey car-park in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, which is opposite the Library and Police Station, next to the Court and in front of the Victoria Hall and just a short walk from the Regent. The postcode of the car-park is ST1 3BP and it costs £2.50 after 6pm or £3.30 for 3 hours before 6pm.
What Else is on at the Regent Theatre?
The Regent Theatre has plenty more family-friendly shows on offer over the next couple of months! We are really looking forward to Tom Gates Live on Stage! in October, Annie in November and, of course, the infamous Stoke-on-Trent pantomime which this year is Sleeping Beauty. Also, The Tiger Who Came to Tea will be visiting the Victoria Hall in October which looks like it’s going to be wonderful. For more information visit the ATG website.