Undercover Review | Madagascar The Musical @ The Regent
When I saw that Waterfront Life was running a competition to win tickets to see Madagascar The Musical, I was desperate to win! Not only is my 9-year-old son an avid fan of all the movies, but secretly I couldn’t wait to see my favourite character – King Julien the lemur – reimagined live on stage.
I have been visiting the Regent since I was a small child, and I love how the personality of the building has been kept throughout the years, with fresh touches being continually added to modernise it. The classic theatre experience remains the same though – even down to the ice cream vendors mingling with the audience at the interval!
Starring Matt Terry – winner of 2016’s X Factor – the show was clearly written to engage with an audience of all ages; with clever adult humour subtly weaved into child-friendly acts of silliness. There were times when jokes were almost lost amongst the noise and excitement of the on-stage antics; if you were paying careful attention, you became one of the few people who were in fits of giggles! But maybe that’s just my childish sense of humour…
The costuming was brilliant – Melman the giraffe was particularly impressive, with actor Jamie Lee-Morgan expertly moving the extended neck prop around in time with his character. I was stunned by the actors’ abilities to sound just like the movie characters’ voices – there were times at the beginning of the show that I wondered whether Chris Rock himself was behind the scenes replicating the words of Marty the zebra!
Singing was obviously the focal point of the show, and the actors did not disappoint. High expectations were, of course, set for Matt Terry, and he handled his energetic performance and beautiful renditions with ease. Again, I was sceptical as to whether the songs had been pre-recorded because of their quality!
The first half seemed to be quite eked-out in terms of the storyline, where the second half really picked up the pace, but it almost felt like this crammed in the rest of the tale. Then the much-loved lemurs made their appearance, with King Julien providing a laugh-a-minute performance, albeit slightly camouflaged by the extremely thick accent put on by the actor Jo Parsons. Again, it took a fair bit of concentration to be one of the lucky ones to enjoy the humour.
Overall, the show was great family fun, and my son thoroughly enjoyed it. I wouldn’t rush back to see it, but for families with small children that love a bit of song and dance, it ticks all the right boxes.