Madagascar The Musical

Oct 3 2018 | By More

★★☆☆☆   Lackluster 

Edinburgh Playhouse: Tue 2 – Sat 6 Oct 2018
Review by Sarah Moyes

Madagascar may have been a hugely popular animated movie, but unfortunately, the musical adaptation fails to hit the right notes as it tours to the Playhouse this week.

Madagascar The Musical is obviously hoping to follow in the success of such screen-to-stage hits as Shrek or The Lion King, and this Selladoor production is on tour in the UK for the first time.

Matt Terry and some penguins. Pic S Rylander

The show follows a group of animals from New York’s Central Park Zoo. When Marty the zebra discovers that a group of penguins are planning to escape, he joins them in a bid to break away from his life in captivity, followed by Gloria the hippo and Melman the giraffe.

After a brief run around in the city, the group find themselves on a ship headed to King Julien’s Madagascar for a new adventure.

X Factor winner Matt Terry takes on the show’s lead role as Alex the lion, the king of the urban jungle who is used to being served steak rather than having to fend for himself. This is Matt’s debut acting role and he shows a lot of promise giving a strong performance, which is made even better by his incredible singing voice.

The rest of the cast are entertaining with Antoine Murray-Straughan as Marty the zebra, Jamie Lee-Morgan as Melman the giraffe and Timmika Ramsay as Gloria the hippo.


As the friends reach Madagascar in the second act, however, it is Jo Parsons who really shines as King Julien the Lemur, with children laughing along with his hilarious accent.

Jo Parsons with the Madagascar company. Pic S Rylander.

Jo Parsons with the Madagascar company. Pic S Rylander.

While there are parts of the script which are enjoyable – mainly Melman’s medical worries about a splinter to his yellow skin being jaundice – there’s just not enough substance here for it to be up there with similar musical adaptions of animated movies.

With a running time of just an hour and 45 minutes (including an interval), the story feels very condensed, with not enough time for you to became fully invested before the curtain is down and the houselights are back on.

The animal puppets, designed by Max Humphries, and the costumes by Laura Rushton and Robert Allsopp are what really stands out in this production. They are bright and colourful, and really bring the show to life.

The songs here are upbeat and entertaining enough, but it’s the well-known song Move It, Move It that really gets the audience going. So much so that it appears twice in the second act. The rest of the songs aren’t very memorable. But that being said the cast can certainly sing when given the chance.

Madagascar The Musical is very much a show that only young children will enjoy. Unlike other kids shows, however, there’s just not nearly enough adult content to keep them entertained too.

This might be a good way to introduce children to the world of theatre, but overall it just lacks the punch which could have turned it from an average show to a great one.

Running time: one hour and 45 minutes (including one interval)
Edinburgh Playhouse, 18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA. Phone booking: 0844 871 3014
Tuesday 2 – Saturday 6 October 2018
Evenings: 7pm; Matinees Weds, Sat: 2.30pm.
(NB. Note earlier – 7pm, evening start!)
Tickets: Click here to buy online.

Madagascar the Musical website:
Facebook: @MadUKTour
Twitter: @madUKtour.

Madagascar – The Musical on tour 2018/19:
2 – 6 Oct Edinburgh 
0844 871 3014 Book online
09 – 13 Oct Bristol 
0844 871 3012 Book online
16 – 20 Oct Ipswich 
01473 433100 Book online
23 – 27 Oct Bradford 
01274 432 000 Book online
6 – 10 Nov Londonderry 
Millennium Forum
028 7126 4455 Book online
12 – 17 Nov Exeter 
Northcott Theatre
01392 493493 Book online
4 – 8 Dec Brighton 
Theatre Royal
0844 871 7650 Book online
Tour continues in 2019:
29 Jan – 2 Feb 2019 Grimsby 
0300 300 035 Book online
5 – 9 Feb Liverpool 
08448 713 017 Book online
19 – 23 Feb Reading 
The Hexagon
0118 960 6060 Book online
26 Feb – 2 Mar York 
Theatre Royal/Takeover Festival
01904 623568 Book online
5 – 9 Mar Leicester 
Haymarket Theatre
0116 296 1236 Book online
12 – 16 Mar Woking 
New Victoria
0844 871 7645 Book online
19 – 23 Mar New Brighton 
Floral Pavilion
0151 666 0000 Book online
2 – 6 April Malvern 
Festival Theatre
01684 892277 Book online
8 – 13 Apr Inverness
Eden Court
01463 234 234 Book online
23 – 27 Apr Belfast 
Grand Opera House
02890 241919 Book online
30 Apr – 4 May Oxford 
New Theatre
0844 871 3020 Book online
7 – 11 May Wolverhampton 
Grand Theatre
01902 429212 Book online
14 – 18 May Eastbourne 
Congress Theatre
01323 412000 Book online
21 – 25 Swansea 
Grand Theatre
01792 475 715 Book online
28 May – 1 Jun Hull 
New Theatre
01482 300 300 Book online


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