REVIEW: Madagascar Live, at Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

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LOUD, lively and lovable, this energetic theatrical adaptation of Madagascar the movie kept children on the edge of their seats, but unfortunately failed to engage its more critical adult audience.

I took my two-year-old who loves the films, so the live arena version had a lot to live up to.

Toddlers are not easy to entertain for long periods of time, but the fast-paced set changes and toe-tapping outbursts of song had him entranced – for the majority of the show.

However, ask me to name any of the new tunes in this lavish musical version of the hit film and I draw a blank, the only tune which sticks in my memory is the opening number, It’s Showtime.

This was limply followed by less impressive song choices which I enjoyed, but wasn’t blown away by.

However, the 90’s dancefloor classic I Like to Move It, which is synonymous with the movie, had the desired effect and had everyone on their feet wearing lemur glasses and dancing.

It was the best moment of audience participation as several other attempts resulted in embarrassed parents with huge microphones thrust in their faces, and a spotlight on them just to make sure they were feeling thoroughly awkward.

Some of the slapstick was lost on us boring grown ups, but the kids laughed along on cue.

The script itself, in parts, did have laugh-out-loud moments with the penguins taking most of the best lines.

The main critics, the kids, all seemed thrilled with King Julien and his fail-safe toilet humour.

It did lack the comical impact that you get when you watch the film, but I’ve got to give top marks for the spectacular sets courtesy of Stage Entertainment Touring Production.

I’ve been to a number of children-orientated theatre shows, but these sets are definitely the ones to beat.

The over-the-top and colourful stage allows the audience to travel convincingly from New York to Antarctica, and of course Madagascar, without leaving their seats.

Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo were on key when it came to their musical numbers and I couldn’t fault their cracking vocals and energy.

My little boy loved the fight scene when Alex battles the foosa for survival and the dance routines were high-tempo and infectious.

Madagascar Live! made my little boy want to go wild, and happy kids is all that matters.

Cara Houchen