REVIEW: Madagascar the Musical (New Wimbledon Theatre) ★★★★

As someone whose favourite animal is a lemur and who has always planned to travel to Madagascar, I was very excited about the film, which has become one of mine and my dad’s favourite movies. When I discovered there was a musical version, I eagerly awaited its arrival (although my dad was not interested – musicals are not his thing).

Godson (age 4) in tow, I was nervous about how the story would work on stage, as it’s become such an iconic and popular film. However, it did not disappoint.

After a misunderstanding, the animals of Central Park Zoo are shipped back to Kenya; however, mutinous penguins take over the ship in their mission to get home to Antarctica. In the process, four animals are thrown overboard and end up in the wild of Madagascar.

The show sticks quite closely to the film, with the same classical soundtrack in places and the now famous ‘I like to move it’ scene which is everyone’s favourite. Tom Rogers’ design is great, with fantastic contrast between NYC and The Wild. Performers are enthusiastic and bring their own style to well-known characters.

Puppetry is used well for some of the animals, particularly The Penguins and Lemurs, which ensures these characters are instantly recognisable. There are no weak performers, but Antoine Murray-Straughan is particularly excellent as Marty. However, as expected, it is King Julien (Jo Parsons) who steals the show, walking on his knees and being completely kooky and mad as a box of frogs (or lemurs).

Songs are good, but not memorable and a few feel slightly forced (the show would work without them), but overall it is a very good adaptation of the film. However, it is very much aimed at children, rather than adults (although there are a few inside adult jokes). That said, it is still a very good family show.

As a side note, I must applaud the actors in animal costumes in a theatre with no air conditioning on one of the hottest days of the year – it was unbearable as an audience member, so well done to them in heavy costumes under spotlights which must have been horrendous.

Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
Photo: Scott Ryland


Buy tickets to West End theatre shows (some great discounted offers)
Subscribe to my mailing list for all the latest theatre news, special offers and competitions