Review: Madagascar the Musical at the Wolverhampton Grand

Book: Kevin Del Aguila

Director:Kirk Jameson

Madagascar the Musical isn’t the first Dreamworks film to be adapted for the stage. Back in 2008 Shrek was produced on Broadway to critical acclaim. Sell a Door uses puppetry and a bit of theatre magic to create a roarsome night out for families.

Act one is incredibly quick and focuses more on the animals, particularly the theme of friendship and also Marty’s desire to be free from the constraints of New York City Zoo. It sets up the plot nicely which then is topped off with a strong act two which delves into the heart of the Madagascan Jungle as the animals find themselves marooned on the island thanks to some pesky Penguins terrible sailing skills.

I like to move it, move it is by far the stand out musical number and while the majority of the other specially written musical numbers aren’t particularly memorable they help bulk out the show and allow it to keep its rhythm and creates some extra fun. Matt Terry’s voice is great in the role of Alex, his own number I’m the king is joyful, proud and a great introduction to the charming and friendly character.

While Alex may be king of the jungle, its Jo Parson’s King Julian that fills the stage with delight. Parson carefully crafts the recognisable accent, made famous by Sacha Baron Cohen and his quick wit, comic timing and boundless energy lights up the stage and brings a new level of excitement to the production.

Designer Tom Rogers blends costumes that are versatile enough to allow the actors to fully work with the stage, with the original character frames that were made famous in the film. Puppet designer Max Humphries further adds to this by creating, almost carbon copy puppets to match the characters from the film. The penguins are particularly adorable

The cast handle the puppets expertly in a way that incorporates their whole bodies through the animal. It’s done in a way that doesn’t lose the focus of the puppet while also adding to the character.

Madagascar the Musical is a roaring success for a family hoping to go and enjoy a night out at the theatre. Fans of the films will love it and younger family members are sure to fully engage with the larger than life fun characters brought to life through wonderfully creative puppetry.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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