By Chris Gordon
If you’re after a big helping of joy covered liberally in cute sauce, might I suggest you have a look at Madagascar Jr, The Musical, now playing at Goulburn West Public School Hall.
With a cast of actors, singers and dancers drawn from across primary and secondary classes around the region, Madagascar the Musical retells the story of a certain lion, hippo, zebra and giraffe most audiences will be familiar with from the DreamWorks franchise of animated movies.
If for some reason you HAVEN’T seen those movies… well you should hire or buy or stream them, you cheapskate. But as an emergency backup, here’s a very abbreviated summary…
Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo live in the New York zoo, where life is good… but unchallenging. Marty dreams of a life in the wild and makes the decision to make a break for it.
Noticing that Marty is missing, his three friends go looking for him and in the process get caught and bundled off on a ship that washes ashore on… you guessed it… MADAGASCAR.
In Madagascar (the place) the four friends are courted by the loveable king of the lemurs, King Julien XIII, and challenged by the nefarious foosas… whatever will tour heroes do?
Want to find out? GO SEE THE SHOW.
And what a show. It’s a big old barrel of fun with so much cute it should come with a diabetes warning.
The cast is made up of some experienced performers and a bunch that have never appeared on stage before. For many of the kids involved, these performances are the best things they’ve ever done and it’s a pleasure just to sit there and experience their glowing.
But there’s more going on than just beaming with pride. At any given moment, the stage is like a Sergio Aragones cartoon with different things catching your eye all over the place. It’s like visual five-part harmony, with cast members doing a range of different things, and keeping in their very different characters, even when the stage is full to the brim.
And the costumes are next level. Just absolutely amazing.
Goulburn West Public School Hall is almost tailor-made for this production and frames the stage perfectly. The set changes are simple but evoke the well-known stories and the places they show very effectively.
The songs are super catchy and the choreography that matches them also makes you want to jump out of your seat and join in.
If you could bottle the enthusiasm of this huge cast, you wouldn’t need wind farms. Many of the smaller roles steal their respective portions of the show (have I mentioned how gosh-darned cute they all are?).
The lead roles are particularly well cast and are great story-tellers, and while everyone deserves a mention, I thought Zoe White’s rendition of King Julien was note-perfect to the movies.
But the thing is it’s not a show that’s just about the leads. Each part adds something fun and gorgeous.
The lemurs, the foosas, the penguins (and I can’t help giggling when I hear the phrase “my monochromatic friend.” In fact, I’m giggling now. They’re looking at me funny at work. I should stop).
Then there’s the news crews, the police, the wildlife catchers… there’s a cute little monkey in there somewhere… The list goes on and on… so many characters played by so many characters.
After a lengthy COVID-precautionary break, it’s great to see the Rocky Hill Musical Theatre Company back on stage doing what they do so well, providing joyful and inclusive productions for the people of Goulburn and surrounds that provide opportunities to people at all levels of experience.
Director Lynda Yeadon, producer Alex Ridley, choreographer Steph Warden, musical director Phil Fraser and their vast and talented crew have done a great job and should be very proud to have brought together this wonderful experience in a very abbreviated time frame.
One side note… it’s not, and doesn’t pretend to be, the experience you had watching the movies performed by millionaire actors for a multinational movie company. DUH!
This is much more. It’s live, it’s local, it’s an opportunity to encourage a love of performing arts and… have I mentioned it’s just so bloody joyful and cute?
You might think that the old theatrical maxim about not working with children or animals applies double for a show in which children PLAY animals, but the opposite is true.
If you go, I GUARANTEE you a crack-a-lacking good time. And even if you weren’t expecting to, you’ll want to move it, move it.
Tickets can be purchased at the door, or on trybooking at this link: https://www.trybooking.com/BRPJR
Show dates and times are:
- Saturday 19 June (2pm and 7.30pm)
- Sunday 20 June (2pm)
- Saturday 26 June (2pm and 7.30pm)