Skip to main content

No results found

HANBOROUGH GATE OX 1100x120 BANNER unezql
Culture, Theatre

Review: Amelie

The Musical

divider
Sam Bennett
Review Amelie The Musical Members of the cast  Photo Pamela Raith
Photography © Pamela Raith

I walked into the Watermill not having seen the award-winning Amélie on screen, putting me in a position where I wouldn’t be comparing it with the beauty and charm I’ve heard the film has in spades. So, as a piece of theatre alone, it looks delightful and excellently stages the story’s most bizarre moments – specifically those involving giant figs and a singing gnome. Further, while it lacks characters I especially cared about, each one is distinct and memorable during this retelling of a girl who simply wants to do good things for other people.

There’s no shortage of gifted actor-musicians in this Michael Fentiman-directed offering. How so many violin players manage to navigate the small (however endearing) Watermill stage without someone getting an elbow to the face is in itself admirable. Further, although to me Nathan Tysen and Daniel Messe songs aren’t all that hummable following one listen, they do inject more gorgeousness into the show – especially ‘The Girl with the Glass’, poignantly performed by the title character and Dufayel, played by Audrey Brisson and Johnson Willis respectively.

Madeleine Girling’s spellbinding set greets you on entering the auditorium. One of its talking points is an impressive pulley system that frequently lifts Amélie into the air. This inevitably loses its impact the more you see it, but always serves as a reliable way to elevate her into the visually alluring apartment she spends night after night alone in. This is a resourceful show, with an accordion that doubles as a bridge and pianos used as heightened levels of staging.

Highlights include Caolan McCarthy’s flawless impersonation of Elton John during the protagonist’s imaginary funeral, and the feisty championing of women that is ‘A Better Haircut’. Nothing made me laugh out loud or particularly moved me, but I can’t fault the professionalism, talent and energy of this cast, during a well-oiled retelling of something cherished, complete with a healthy dose of mischief and dark humour.

Amélie plays The Watermill until 18 May.

RECOMMENDED

AMBERRUN OCTOBER DANIELALEXANDERHARRIS 000019550025 2retouch fe9jgv
Sat 5 Oct 2019

A Little Bit of Magic

Behind the Music of Amber Run

Joshua Keogh, Tom Sperring and Henry Wyeth are Amber Run, whose third album, Philophobia, was released on 27 September.

Tibu Fortes and Tom Joyner in Jerker2 c Joseph Sinclair resized 3
Fri 8 Nov 2019

New Hands on a Two-Hander

King’s Head Theatre presents Robert Chesley’s Jerker

“Prudery kills. Nobody ever died from being offended” - Robert Chesley “That encompasses not only the work that he did and what I should be honouring in Jerker, but also what

Dean Atta credit Thomas Sammut 3
Wed 6 Nov 2019

LGBT History Month: Dean Atta

Fear, Flamingos and Fairytale Endings

Dean Atta rings in the morning after a drag show at Kings Place, “a bit on the comedown from it. You get a lot of adrenaline when you do drag performances,” says the spoken word poet,

An Inspector Calls Tour Churchill Bromley 117 tpxppb
Sun 3 Nov 2019

Review: An Inspector Calls

at Oxford Playhouse

A timely reminder in the run up to World Kindness Day An Inspector Calls takes place in one night in 1912 in the fictional north Midlands town of Brumley. We meet the Birling family –