Amélie The Musical: The Other Palace, London
Reviewed 3rd November 2019
Amélie The Musical comes direct from a sell-out run at The Watermill Theatre and a UK tour. Taking the story of the five–time Oscar®-nominated film and bringing it to life, the cast of incredibly talented actor-musicians tell the charming story of Amélie set to a critically acclaimed re-orchestrated score.
The set, designed by Madeline Girling, is distinctively Parisian with clever delicate details. The unique use of the props such as the piano which becomes the shop fronts and the photo-booth which has many different guises throughout the show adds further to the shows quirkiness. Other details such as Amélie’s hidden apartment and the way in which she enters is further add to the uniqueness of the story. Elliot Griggs‘ lighting adds atmosphere and is utilised throughout the production.
Audrey Brisson is a delight as Amélie. She portrays the naive, introverted girl perfectly. The entire cast are excellent and clearly very talented. The use of onstage musicians works well for this production and feels natural due to the original style of score. The score by Daniel Messé with additional lyrics by Nathan Tysen, is reminiscent of the hit-musical Once with some hauntingly beautiful sections where the harmonies layer upon each other gloriously. Unfortunately, the often witty lyrics can get lost due to the strong French accents and the pace of the songs. Whilst the music is at times beautiful, there are few memorable songs and at points it feels overcrowded.
This production certainly doesn’t hold back, going from the sublime to ridiculous and back again. From puppetry to projection, dancing gnomes to Elton John the show is jam-packed, but it is during its simpler moments where the performance truly comes to life. Amélie’s plot is very confusing for those new to the story. Whilst it is in essence a love story about Amélie and a mysterious man she has a chance encounter with, because of the many other sub-plots and secondary characters it does get very complicated. Perhaps it would be better to cut back some of the storylines, the dancing figs for one, to focus on the true plot. However, there are some beautiful scenes and moments scattered through the show and the extended silence during the finale scene shows just how invested the audience become with Amélie by the end of the show.
Amélie The Musical is not your ‘usual’ musical. It is charming, whimsical and quirky. For fans of the film this is a definite must see. Whilst the plot is, at times, overly ambitious and complicated the extremely talented cast make up for this. It is definitely one to see if you are bored of the ordinary and want to see something different at the theatre this season.
Amélie The Musical is playing at The Other Palace until the 1st February 2020. For information and tickets click here.
Photo Credit: Pamela Raith