Family Fun at New Wimbledon Theatre with Madagascar

A mix of actors and puppets proves a hit with children

Based on the popular film franchise

May 20, 2024

It was wonderful to see so many children in New Wimbledon Theatre at a show aimed at them which wasn't a panto. Their enthusiasm was quite contagious and I wished I had worn something with an animal print as many of them had.

At only 1 hour 45 minutes (including an interval), the show is short but presumably to retain the attention of the younger audience.

Act 1 opens with a rather long musical intro and then we meet the monkey m.c. whose 'poo' joke obviously went down well with the kids.

To the strains of 'Born Free', we meet Marty, the Zebra (Francisco Gomes) whose wish it is to go to the 'wild'; followed by Gloria the Hippo (Jarnela Richard-Noel), Melman the Giraffe (Joshua Dakes-Rogers) and, of course, Alex the Lion (Joseph Hewlett) who try to discourage Marty's plan of escape.

Enter the troop of penguins: Skipper, Rico, Kowalski and Private who are planning their return to Antarctica. As Marty does escape the Zoo, his three friends set off to look for him but all four are caught in the city and Act 1 ends with them in crates to be transported elsewhere.

The highlight of the show for me was the entrance of King Julien (Karim Zerqual) near the beginning of Act 2. To his credit, Karim is the only actor playing a lemur where the rest are puppets and, while well disguised, he obviously spends his entire time on stage on his knees. His rendition of 'Move it' had the audience singing along with gusto.

The remainder of Act 2 follows the adventures of the four friends in the Madagascar jungle and what Julien hopes will be their part in protecting the lemurs from their mortal enemy, the fossa.

The final song, 'Together Forever ' has a wonderful message about the value of friendship and an encore of King Julien's 'Move It' had the audience on its feet, adults and youngsters alike.

With a mix of actors and puppets/puppeteers, it is a very entertaining evening for all the family.

Anne Horsburgh

Madagascar was performed in Wimbledon from 9-11 May


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