REVIEW: AMELIE (Criterion Theatre)

I don’t know if jet lag had a part to play in it but when I saw Amelie on Broadway a few years ago, I left the theatre sobbing. So I was curious to see whether the new UK production would do the same. I didn’t cry this time but I did experience an immense sense of joy and happiness.

The original film, Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, was released in 2001, starring Audrey Tautou and Matthieu Kassovitz. It remains the highest-grossing French-language film released in the United States, and one of the biggest international successes for a French film.

The musical first opened at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2015, featuring UK actress Samantha Barks (currently playing Elsa in the West End production of Frozen) before opening in Los Angeles in 2016 with Phillipa Soo taking over the lead role. The original musical opened on Broadway in 2017 but sadly closed just six weeks after its official opening night.

Following its UK opening at the Watermill Theatre, a critically acclaimed tour in 2019, a highly successful Christmas season at The Other Palace in 2019, Amélie The Musical is now playing in the heart of the West End.

Times are hard for dreamers but Amélie is someone to believe in. She secretly improvises small, but extraordinary acts of kindness discovering the possibilities around every corner and bringing happiness to those she encounters. When a chance at love comes her way, Amélie realises that to find her own contentment she’ll have to risk everything and say what’s in her heart. Experience this beautiful story and be inspired by this imaginative dreamer who discovers her voice, uncovers the power of human connection and sees possibility around every corner.

This new production is brought to life by a cast of actor-musicians, led by Audrey Brisson returns to the role of ‘Amélie’ and she is perfect. But this is very much an ensemble piece with every cast member just as integral as the next.

It is such a beautiful story that is so fresh and exciting because it is about a woman who loves making other people happy. It is joyous and full of hope and warmth.

Amelie is only playing until 25 September and so you don’t have long left to catch it. I will certainly be going to see it again – I am just sorry it took me so long to get there in the first place!


Reviewed by West End Wilma