We love a good family night on the sofa with popcorn and Netflix and Madagascar is one of our favourites.
Imagine our excitement on hearing that the Dreamworks classic has been transformed into a musical and was coming to the Bristol Hippodrome.
It was only right that our 12-year-old claimed the second press night ticket for this one and we headed down to the theatre intrigued to discover how well the story translates to the stage.
With the show aimed at age three upwards, there was a very audible excitement in the auditorium as we settled down for the show.
The neon lights were flashing, cuddly lions were being clutched and sweets were being enjoyed as the music began and we travelled across the Atlantic to New York’s Central Park Zoo.
For those of you who don’t know, Madagascar is the story of Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo.
With his huge ego and title of ‘King of New York City’, Alex is perfectly happy with his lot. But Marty is unhappy and dreams of discovering what’s beyond the zoo gates.
With the help of some mischevious penguins, he escapes. His friends set out to find him and bring him home but they get captured and then marooned on Madagascar which is populated by an eccentric band of lemurs led by King Julien.
The look and feel of the show is very loyal to the film. The costumes are brilliant and the puppetry of the plotting penguins and weird lemurs is superb.
Unsurprisingly for a show aimed at three-year-olds, the storyline isn’t exactly complicated but it still kept us old people well entertained and like the movie, had the odd line only adults understand.
X-Factor’s Matt Terry is billed on the posters as the star of the show, but for press night in Bristol, understudy Brandon Gale stood in for him as Alex the lion. He was more than good enough for the role and put in a strong performance.
Antoine Murray-Straughan as Marty the rapping zebra was great too and we loved Timmika Ramsay as the soul singing Gloria the hippo.
Actor and puppeteer Jamie Lee-Morgan was brilliant as hypochondriac giraffe Melman but the absolute stand-out star of the show for us was Jo Parsons as King Julien.
Standing his entire time on stage on his knees to portray the height of a lemur, he was outstanding as the quirky party loving monarch. His leading of the entire cast in a rendition of I Like to Move It was fabulous.
Parsons’ presence made up for a slightly weaker second act compared to the first.
If you’re looking for a great family night out at the theatre, Madagascar The Musical is for you!
Madagascar The Musical is at Bristol Hippodrome until 13 October.
Photography by Scott Rylander