There is something wonderful about being surrounded by so many other families trying to survive the school holidays. We were fortunate to be able to accept at invitation from Artspod to review Madagascar The Musical and it provided a perfect interval to the outdoor fun of our summer break.
Madagascar The Musical is surrounded by peer pressure. I couldn’t help but listen to the two fathers in front of me size up over their commitment to watching Madagascar at every opportunity. And yes, their chortles throughout were contagious. With children intent on spotting their favourite characters, the resultant laughter was a joy.
Wales Millennium Centre was packed with families full of excitement for Madagascar The Musical – how many penguins would there be? How would it compare to the more familiar association with the film? Would Madagascar the Musical be a hit?
And we’re eased in comfortably. With a monkey advising us to turn off our phones to avoid being pelted with poo. After initial laughter, the reality was my mind wandered slightly, not as engaged with the storyline beyond the Central Park setting. Fortunately I looked over to my 10 year-old and 8 year-old twins and their imaginations were captured. But there is something about Madagascar The Musical needing a stronger plot to ensure engagement . With reflection, one of the criticisms of my children was the lack of imagination beyond the loved film.
Madagascar The Musical benefits from a fantastic cast, supporting the inventive changes of scenery, and with voices which carry the audience in laughter and dancing. The inclusion of puppetry add a necessary dimension to ensure the production adds value. The reflection of the penguins, giraffe and lemurs offers intrigue in the acceptance of the younger audience, and this played out successfully.
Whilst the first half feels like an injection of energy and interaction is needed, the second half ensures the commitment of the audience. Somewhat easily achieved with the inclusion “I Like to Move It”, for me it was the mesmerising performance of King Julien which engaged young people which was appreciated.
There is a parity of talent across the cast, with strengths in voice, movement and puppetry. Posi Morakinyo’s vocal talent as Marty stayed with me, the children’s obsession with how the penguins voices were so true to the film was a happy challenge to explain.
Of course, with Matt Terry as the lead there was a hook for my 10 year-old. And vocal talent cannot be doubted with a joyful element in the bond with the other characters in the production. There remains a need to better engage the challenging (young and unforgiving) audience.
Overall, Madagascar the Musical succeeds, perfect for a younger audience. With a few tweaks in engagement, all boxes would be ticked. And yes, those two dads- their love of the production was not only palpable but contagious.
Madagascar the Musical is at the Wales Millennium Centre until 11th August 2019. Tickets are available via the website.
Disclosure: We were invited to Madagascar the Musical for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions contacted are own own.