AMELIE A TRIUMPH OF MUSICAL THEATRE
I had no idea what to expect when I set off to review Amelie The Musical. I had not seen the film nor read the book and had only briefly looked at the publicity material.
But I can say most emphatically that I just did not expect what I was about to experience. It’s a many years since I used the word “theatrical triumph” in a review but that’s exactly what Amelie is.
It’s more than a joy to watch – it’s a completely enchanting and surreal experience that weaves a magical spell around its audience from the opening moments.
Michael Fentiman’s production borders on brilliance he brings to this adaptation life, nostalgia, calm and an ambience that took me back to Paris’s left bank when I was a student in the 70’s.
He fills the stage with actor/musicians who portray a series of characters all with seemingly eccentric backgrounds as they create Parisienne style music with a folk twist on flutes, accordion, piano, small drums and strings.
Designer Madeleine Girling’s set is mind blowing. She has created nothing short of a masterpiece using moody washes, lime tinted brickwork, girders a wonderful scenic clock – all in all she has created a superb but simple theatrical version of the left bank.
An integral part of the set is a rotating photo booth that becomes a confessional box, pianos that open up into tobacconist, green grocer’s and even sex shop counters. The clever way Amelie ascends to her tiny flat with its circular window and the flat itself is yet another piece of creative genius.
As Movement Director, Tom Jackson Greaves has created some amazing movement and choreography. The actors move so smoothly using a plethora of different steps including continental waltz and there’s lots of synchronisation of movement.
The story revolves around Amelie, an imaginative dreamer, who lives quietly in the world, but loudly in her mind. She secretly improvises small, but extraordinary acts of kindness that bring acts of kindness to those around her.
But when a chance at love comes her way she realises to find her own contentment she will have to risk everything and say what’s in her heart.
There so many intimate and comedic moments in the show it’s a veritable feast of musical theatre. I loved so many parts of it but to me it was the way Fentiman so cleverly and beautifully staged the final moments when the two lovers decide to be together, with a long and emotional silence.
French-Canadian Audrey Brisson as Amelie excels and is exactly what the character should be both physically, emotionally and vocally. She drives the show and makes you really believe in her and her child-like innocence.
Danny Mac as her love interest Nino has depth and believability too. Like ships in the night they pass each other in the metro until in the second half their emotions, and the puzzle about the torn up photos come to the fore and then sentiments are arisen and problems solved.
Amelie is a must see with a great cast of talented actor/musicians who really get to grips with the life and times of the people they play. If you have a spare window in your diary this week do go to see this wonderful and amazing show. Its calming, beautiful and has a great feel good factor attached to it.
At Bradford Alhambra until Saturday 6th July.
To Book Call 01274 432000
Liz Coggins is a member of The Critics Circle