Madagascar the Musical has officially touched down in Manchester, running at the Opera House for a select few dates this month.
Based on the smash-hit 2005 animation, the family-friendly musical invites audiences along on a journey with ‘all of your favourite crack-a-lackin’ friends’ on their unexpected journey. And we went along to opening night to see what it’s all about.
Walking into the stunning Opera House always fills me with excitement from the off, but this was only heightened by the sea of smiling little faces in fluffy lion ears. Cute.
Just to give a small synopsis if you happened to miss the epic Dreamworks film released 19 years ago (wow that makes me feel old), the storyline is quite simple and easy to follow. Four high maintenance animals escape their zoo with the help of four fugitive penguins, and subsequently find themselves in Madagascar living with some vivacious lemurs.
The musical show follows the story perfectly from costumes to script – everything is recognisable and feels somewhat nostalgic.
The lights go down and the stage is transformed into a New York City skyline, setting the scene of the Central Park Zoo as we patiently wait to see our stars.
The first up-beat number of the night introduces the four main characters, Alex the lion, Morty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo. From the get-go it’s clear this show is aimed at younger children, that’s not to say it can’t be enjoyed by all ages, but perfect for kids aged between four and ten.
The first half takes you quickly through the storyline and we meet four crafty Antarctic flightless birds who will ultimately be the driving force for the evening’s plot.
Marty, our zebra friend, then goes through what can only be described as an existential crisis and escapes the zoo for a better life in the wild. His animal companions of course go after him and subsequently end up being captured by animal control, at this point me and the adorable five year old sat next to me are on the edge of our seats.
Now would be a good time to give a mention to the set design, really outstanding and the attention to detail is meticulous. The crate scene, while the characters are being transported by boat, reflects the film perfectly and little details like ‘Transport to Kenya’ give nods to context to where we are in the plot.
After an intense boat hijack from our penguin pals, the theatre plummets into darkness that marks the end of act one.
En route to the toilet I hear an interesting insight from a seven year old, ‘mummy, why would they be sending penguins to Kenya?’. A great question, one of life’s many unanswered questions, but we’ll scoot past that small plot hole because the opening of act one is the real nucellus of the evening.
The set transforms into a beautiful tropical paradise and you can almost feel that warm breeze on your face and the white sand beneath your feet. We’ve made it to the main event – Madagascar.
Now while the news has been flooded with stories of King Charles over the last week, we’ve been sleeping on the fluffy royal legend that deserves every bit of fame and stardom we can offer. That’s right, he’s here, it’s King Julien.
The next five minutes are so full of energy and humour I have actual tears in my eyes. Watching a stage of lemur puppets and zoo animals performing a choreographed rendition of ‘I Like To Move It’ was not on my 2024 bingo card but I am thrilled to have experienced it.
Act two, in general, carries all the energy, the upbeat catchy songs and the colourful staging filling the room with smiling faces.
I am not 100% clear what the climax of the plot is, and realise I can’t remember from the film either, but it really doesn’t matter. The film left kids with a very important message, ‘don’t eat your friends!’ and that’s something they will always remember.
After a remarkable solo from Alex the lion, which could rival the likes of ‘All that jazz!’, the story comes to a happy ending and the full audience are on their feet.
The full run time of the show is one of the shortest I’ve been to with just about 40 minutes for each half, but that’s ideal for kids you just can’t keep still. And grown-ups…
Tickets for Madagascar the Musical in Manchester are on sale here.
Disney’s ‘The Sound of Magic’ concert is coming to Manchester on its first-ever UK tour
Disney’s smash-hit ‘The Sound of Magic’ live concert is heading out on its first-ever tour of the UK this summer.
And, of course, it’ll be stopping off in our city to enchant Manchester audiences.
Following on from its hugely-successful UK debut at the London Coliseum last year, where it garnered countless five-star reviews, and both acclaim and praise from critics and fans, Disney In Concert: The Sound of Magic is hitting the road in a few months time, and will be taking to the stage at several major cities all across the country – including here in Manchester.
If you’re unfamiliar with what the beloved show is all about, Disney In Concert: The Sound of Magic is a musical celebration of over 100 years of the Disney experience.
The symphonic celebration will see the renowned Novello Orchestra bring to life the soundtracks and characters from Walt Disney Animation Studios in the concert hall and on the big screen in a live-to-film concert “like never before”.
Disney’s ‘The Sound of Magic’ concert is coming to Manchester on its first-ever UK tour / Credit: Disney
Suitable for all ages to attend and experience the magic, the show will be making its way across the UK this June and will be stopping off at cities such as London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Nottingham, and Bath, as well as fellow North West city Liverpool along the way.
But what better way to kick things off than here in Manchester?
Disney In Concert: The Sound of Magic 2024 Tour Dates
Tuesday 4 June – Manchester (Bridgewater Hall)
Wednesday 5 June – Bath
Thursday 6 June – Nottingham
Saturday 8 June – Edinburgh
Sunday 9 June – Glasgow
Monday 10 June – Liverpool
Tuesday 11 June – Birmingham
Thursday 13 June – London
Starting out its first-ever UK tour in our city, Disney In Concert: The Sound of Magic will be live at the iconic Bridgewater Hall in Manchester city centre on Tuesday 4 June 2024 – with the show starting at 7pm, and running for 100-minutes with a 20-minute interval.
The concert will be live on stage at Manchester’s iconic Bridgewater Hall this summer / Credit: Bridgewater Hall
This newly-imagined concert is said to take audiences “on a magic carpet ride through the most memorable song, score, and movie moments” of the Walt Disney Company’s extensive back catalogue – including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Moana, Alice in Wonderland, and more.
Aladdin, The Jungle Book, Frozen, The Lion King, Fantasia, Encanto, Beauty and the Beast, are just some of the cult-classics being celebrated.
Legendary musical Chicago is coming back to Manchester later this year
One of the greatest musicals of all time is returning to Manchester later this as part of its UK tour, and tickets are now on sale.
That’s right – Chicago is back, and we already can’t wait.
Known, loved, and celebrated by millions worldwide, and having scooped up countless awards along the way since first hitting the Broadway stage all the way back in 1975, followed by the West End in 1979, and then its first UK tour back in 2021, it’s been announced this week that Chicago is back to entertain the masses.
The multi award-winning musical production is heading out on a tour of the UK in 2024 and 2025 – and, of course, it will be paying us a visit here in Manchester later this year.
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CHICAGO, the "sexiest musical ever" (Metro), is back on Tour in 2024 and coming to the Palace Theatre this November!
The show’s talented cast and crew will be pulling into our city for one week only in early November.
The beloved production’s tour of the UK kicks off in Milton Keynes on 12 October, and will stop off at other major cites such as Newcastle, Bradford, and Southampton, before arriving in Manchester and taking to the stage at our city’s iconic Palace Theatre from Monday 4 – Saturday 9 November 2024.
Further tour dates are a set to be announced in the coming weeks, and the cast for the show is to be named in due course too.
Legendary musical Chicago is coming back to Manchester later this year / Credit: Tristram Kenton (via Supplied)
Unfamiliar with Chicago?
Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, the musical tells the story of housewife and nightclub dancer, Roxie Hart, who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her.
As she’s so desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media, and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines.
It’ll be taking to the stage at the city’s iconic Palace Theatre this November / Credit: Tristram Kenton (via Supplied)
The show was created by musical theatre legends John Kander and Fred Ebb, alongside iconic choreographer Bob Fosse, and includes a score of famous songs including ‘All That Jazz’, ‘Cell Block Tango’, and ‘All That Jazz’.
It’s now the longest-running American musical in Broadway and West End history, and has played in a whopping 38 countries worldwide to an estimated 34 million people.
Chicago the Musical will be at Manchester Palace Theatre from Monday 4 – Saturday 9 November 2024, and tickets are now on sale from just £15.