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The wait is over! Madgascar the musical has finally opened at the Lyric Theatre, HKAPA on Thursday 12th September. Based on the much-loved Dreamworks Animation, the story follows four New York City Zoo animals who leave their comfortable lives to end up in the middle of Madagascar.

Going through a bit of a mid-life crisis, Marty the zebra wishes that he could be out in the wild. After meeting a bunch of crazy penguins who also want to escape from the zoo, Marty follows them and breaks free. Discovering that their friend has gone, Alex the lion, Melman the "hypocon-giraffe" and Gloria the hippo, go on a mission to find him and bring him back to the zoo. But before they make it back, the group are caught and boxed up, waking up to find they're en-route to an African wildlife reserve. But then, all hell breaks loose when the penguins escape from their crates and get up to mischief again, landing them on the island of Madagascar, where they then meet King Julien, the flossing, party-loving lemur, and his tribe.

Led by X Factor winner, Matt Terry, this production features a strong cast of 10 consisting of actors and puppeteers. Terry plays the lead as Alex the Lion, alongside Posi Morakinyo (Marty), Connor Dyer (Melman), Hannah Victoria (Gloria) and Kieran Mortell (King Julien). These five do a brilliant job delivering a high energy performance, making the dance choreography look effortless even in those large animal costumes - Terry gave so much zest into it that even his lion mane flew off! But despite that, Terry managed to navigate the wardrobe malfunction very well and came right back into the performance and continued on.


Notable performances come from Hannah Victoria and Kieran Mortell. Strong vocals paired with charm and sass, Hannah Victoria's portrayal of Gloria was a joy to watch. As for Kieran Mortell, he steals the show as King Julien. You cannot help but love that pompous and eccentric character of his, and Mortell does a great job getting the audience engaged and roaring with laughter.

William Beckerleg, Michael Larcombe, Monique Ashe-Palmer, Anna Barnes, Esme Laudat, Niko Kaim and Gareth Moran, make up the rest of the company, playing various characters on stage, and they did a wonderful job of adding to the comedic elements, whether it's the scared police, to the old lady with the zimmer frame, or to the crazy penguin puppets that they played and brought to life. In this production, the puppeteers are clearly visible to the audience, but the puppetry was so skilful and convincing that audiences easily forget that the puppeteers are there.

In terms of music, this production features mostly original music and lyrics from George Noriega and Joel Someillan. Unfortunately, whilst the original songs were well received and enjoyed by audiences, there sadly wasn't any stand-out numbers that had Review: MADAGASCAR THE MUSICAL at HKAPA audiences humming as they left the theatre. Reel 2 Real's "I like to move it" from the animation remained the highlight of the production, garnering the most audience response. The original songs in the production were ones where you remember the context and theme, but then fail when it comes to the recalling the tune. With such a vibrant and high energy production, it's a shame that the songs weren't more catchy. But in saying that, if I had to pick one memorable number from the production, then it would have to be the steak song. Not because the song was particularly melodious or distinct, but rather because of the bizarre visual effect that accompanied it - 3 singing steaks on silver platters - you don't get to see that in a lot of theatre productions!

Despite the let down with the songs, the production is saved by the book, written by Kevin Del Aguila. Prior to seeing the show, I had the slight worry thinking that this would be too focused on entertaining young theatre goers. After being seated, I looked around the entire auditorium and it was full of parents with young kids, and then there was me and my friend sitting amongst all the families. Fortunately, I was proven wrong - Del Aguila's book contains plenty of jokes that suited audiences of all ages, delivering laughs to all. Some of my personal favourites were Melman's jaundice joke, the rectal thermometer birthday present, and King Julien's iconic line "the people are animals!"

All in all, the production may not have the most memorable songs in musical theatre history and carries a relatively weak narrative, the cast of 10 does an incredible job, and a lovely evening at the theatre is guaranteed.

Madagascar the Musical runs until September 15th at the HKAPA. For tickets and info visit:

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