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24th October 2020

Madagascar - THE NODA REVIEW

The characters were well cast, and they worked effectively as a team. There was good rapport between all the principals and, when appropriate, each one came to the fore for their ‘turn’.

There were some 20+ named on the cast list all of whom, I believe, gave of their best; so, it is very difficult to select individuals without doing injustice to others. But, after saying that, I really do feel that I need to highlight the following for ‘stand out’ performances……

‘Alex the Lion’ ‘King of the Zoo/The Main Attraction’ was played extremely well by James Newland. Well cast, James is obviously a ’real showman’, full of energy from start to finish, fun loving; he really did bring this character to life.

‘Marty’ our ‘Dreamer of a Zebra’ was played brilliantly by Freya Cocks. Freya was perfect for this role. Good singing voice …loved her rendition of ‘Wild and Free’ and her duet with Alex ‘Best Friends was excellent. She and James had great chemistry and brought out the best in each other… well done!!

‘Gloria the Hippo’ played by Neve Murdoch was another that was well cast and played the part very well. Looked totally at ease with the role, stage presence aplenty…well done!

Shay Lowden’s interpretation of ‘Melman the Giraffe’ was spot on - ‘Hypochondriac’ ‘Slightly Nervous, with some great ‘one liners’! I thought this was a very controlled piece of characterization.

‘King Julien’ played by Katja Ferraioli-Schubert was another actress to watch for the future. Plenty of stage presence and great characterisation but we missed much of her facial expressions. Perhaps if her hair had been tied off her face and the pace of the voice slowed down somewhat, then the impact of the character would have been more prominent.

Last, but not least, Robert Gendron’s portrayal of ‘Skipper the Penguin’. Robert looked a little nervous at the start…but by the end, I felt he had overcome those nerves and was ‘living the dream’ …loved the ‘Penguin’s Sea Shanty’ and if I’m honest, loved the ‘penguin clan’ altogether well done!

There were so many talented young people on stage, all of whom supported their principals so well. From the opening number ‘It’s Showtime’ to the finale ‘Together Forever’ and the reprise ‘I like to Move it’, you could just tell that everyone on stage was ‘loving’ being part of this show! Everyone acted, sang and danced their hearts out, they had obviously worked hard, thought about their characters and were so enthusiastic…every one of you should be so really proud!

Choreography was very good, and the cast were well rehearsed in their general stagecraft, often in full view of the audience for lengthy scenes. Costumes were excellent and the make-up was very impressive. The set design, by Rebert Driver and team, was very effective, simple yet clever – whilst not overwhelming the space for a large cast.

My only quibble was the sound balance. It was a little loud for the younger voices at times and too often lyrics could not be fully understood as the band overpowered the performers, which was a shame. My stand-out musical sequence was ‘The Penguin’s’ Sea Shanty’, ‘Welcome to Me’ and the act one finale, ‘I like to move it’. There were several performances which promised there are up and coming principal leads for the future and I shall be interested to watch their progress as they further develop their stagecraft. Well done.

To put any type of show on stage takes a vast amount of time, leadership and dedication; there’s little or no doubt that the Young Arcadians are blessed with many dedicated and experienced theatre people who are prepared to give of their time in the development of youth. Congratulations to you all.

Thank you for your generous hospitality.

Vicki Avery Noda Rep’ District 9

  • Madagascar Jr.

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