WHEN I suggested to my partner an evening at Madagascar The Musical live he was excited, but hesitant as to how it would be executed. We grew up with the DreamWorks film from the age of eight and the trilogy since has done nothing but meet expectations - but after years of animated entertainment I was looking forward to the live edition.

Madagascar features four main characters from the Central Park Zoo; a lion, a zebra, a hippopotamus and a giraffe. For anyone not familiar with the plot: the zebra unexpectedly gets a birthday wish to live in the wild granted after they find themselves shipped off to Madagascar after escaping onto New York’s streets. Once there they get a warm welcome from the local animals but soon find life in the wild is not what they expected, and they have to make a big decision.

Familiar songs meant the audience, from all age ranges, sang to their heart’s content. The enthusiasm of the dancing and singing was consistently maintained despite the workout routines the actors performed for each song, and the cast included Brandon Gale as the popular lead role Alex the Lion.

The stage was full of humour with jokes both appropriate for families with subtle adult references and it was difficult to detect anybody who wasn’t enjoying themselves, both on stage or in the audience, with the cast getting the crowd up on their feet dancing and clapping along.

The puppets were made so creatively and realistically and the actors, dancers and singers complemented the costumes perfectly.

The performances were full of life as members of the audience were taken back by the bright colours, attention to detail and vibrancy. The make-up artists had also created the characters to a very high standard whilst those who had made the stage props had created nothing less than artwork.

The storyline was clear, the cast were professional and had rehearsed to an extremely high standard and the audience interaction was encouraged - a great evening.

Ellie Botti