Review 5***** Amelie the Musical The Other Palace @TheOtherPalace @AmelieMusicalUK

Witty, winsome and whimsical. Amélie The Musical is based on the 2001 film, where one little girl with a big imagination carries out remarkable acts of kindness to bring happiness to those around her. Until one day, Amélie meets arty Nino, her heart begins to pound and everything changes… 

Audrey Brisson is phenomenal as quirky Amélie, her playful personality and sprinkles of mischievous magic brighten a world where everything and everyone goes around and around and around over and over again and again…Amélie slices through the monotony with delightful charm, although Brisson always cuts in with a hilariously blunt quip just in time to avoid over sweetening the performance. 

The cast wind between each other as an impressive ensemble, each member performing expertly strong physicality and masterful characterisation. The whole cast play at least one instrument with tremendous talent and panache, executing Tom Jackson Greaves’ choreography with ease to Daniel Messé’s swirling score. Although the orchestration (Barnaby Race/Samuel Wilson) was beautiful, the lyrics (Nathan Tysen and Daniel Messé) and dialogue were lost at times to the swelling score. 

Despite the tight-knit ensemble, each cast member gives standout individual performances. Unfortunately Josh Sneesby’s role as a blind busker highlighted the ever-pertinent issue of ‘cripping up’ on stage. Despite Sneesby’s dazzling performance at all times on stage, it does open up a discussion as to why a visually impaired actor wasn’t favoured in this particular part. I must also shine the spotlight on Caolan McCarthy, with his infectious smile, crisp comedy and spectacular rendition of Elton John. Yes, the plot strays along with Améllie’s inventive mind, incorporating a tribute from Elton to the late Princess Diana as well as a world-travelling gnome and nightmare figs. Bizarre, at times haunting, and always very, very funny – perfectly depicting the inside mechanics of Améllie’s imagination. 

The rousing orchestration and chorus, the clever use of Madeleine Girling’s split set and the loveable Parisian charm of the characters, teamed with the beautiful messaging in the show makes for an enchanting experience.

In our current cultural climate, a world that can seem bewildering, harsh and cold, Amélie offers its audience a heartwarming spark of joy and hope. Inspiration overwhelmed me in the interval, where I offered to get two strangers a drink at the bar for no other reason than to replicate a random act of Amélie-style kindness. Although I sport a similar bob haircut to the eponymous leading lady, I don’t believe the ‘do is a necessary requirement to spreading more kindheartedness to our peers. 

I’d recommend looking up the plot beforehand if you are unaware of the storyline. Tickets range from £19-£65 in this fairly snug theatre. There are some references of an adult nature and the use of the French swear ‘merde’, so I would advise having a think about bringing young children.  

Allow yourself to be swept up in this wondrous whirlwind of a musical.

Director: Pam MacKinnon
Written by: Craig Lucas
Music and lyrics: Daniel Messé, Nathan Tysen

For tickets visit London Box Office

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