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The musical stays faithful to its roots in the film

By Andrew Dixon


Madagascar The Musical

Eden Court, Inverness

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IT’S not often you see rows of people getting their freak on in Inverness on a Tuesday evening.

But that was the response prompted by Madagascar’s infectious I Like To Move It theme. A 1990s classic by Reel 2 Real, it had dozens of people dancing along thanks to King Julian – the lemur character who stole the show.

Ahead of Madagascar The Musical, I remembered that song from the film franchise, but couldn’t remember any others in the original animation.

With that in mind, I was intrigued to see how a musical of a film with few memorable songs in it could work.

And the questions continued even as the main characters were introduced, through song, as inhabitants of Central Park Zoo.

The musical stayed largely faithful to its roots with Marty the zebra’s 10th birthday leading to him yearning for the wild. After escaping the zoo, his best friend Alex the lion and pals Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo followed him as far as the subway where they were shot with tranquilliser darts, put into crates and shipped to Kenya, along with a quartet of penguins.

After getting loose on board the ship, the penguins took control and the other animals went overboard – at the interval which came at about 45 minutes.

Youngsters seemed to enjoy it although clear jokes were few and far between.

There’s no doubting the talent of the cast. Their performances were faultless whether dressed as animals or operating animal puppets, but there was something missing. And that X factor came in the second half with King Julian. Some of the audience would probably find him annoying, especially his voice. But for me he was the star.

From referring to the main characters who washed up in Madagascar as “freaks” to cueing up the first rendition of I Like To Move It, he was pivotal. Alex turned feral before being banished, then became friends with everyone again after Marty went to find him.

The show ended after another 45 minutes with a final I Like To Move It which got everyone on their feet.

If the King of New York Alex was supposed to be the main man, King Julian has taken his throne!

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