Touring musical seen in Bristol.
If you loved the DreamWorks movie you will instantly recognise the characterisations in this musical version which follows Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria as they unwittingly find themselves on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar – a long way from Central Park Zoo.
The action of the four main characters is cleverly mixed with the use of puppets throughout the show. Most notable are the four 'rogue' penguins who plan the zoo escape and end up piloting the ship to land in Madagascar. These 'penguin' puppeteers add some excellent humour and punctuate what otherwise felt like a rather pedestrian show in the first half, despite some excellent vocal and dance performances by Marty (Antoine Murray-Straughan).
Vocals were at times overpowered by the musical backing, which was a shame for understudy Brandon Gale who played Alex the Lion in this performance as his solo sequence (as he falls victim to the tranquilliser dart) lost some of its impact.
In the second half, the show came to life with a high energy performance of 'Move It Move It' and the arrival of King Julian (Jo Parsons). His was the show stopping performance which injected some much-needed dynamism into the rest of the show.
The younger audience members certainly enjoyed the spectacle and the comedy provided by King Julien and the chance to join in singing and dancing in the final scene. Families with younger children will certainly enjoy the show.