Madagascar Jr – Adelaide Youth Theatre

Madagascar Jr – Adelaide Youth Theatre

This production had dual casts. In the interests of fairness TASA reviewed both casts. Allison Thomas reviewed an Apples cast performance and David Evans reviewed a Bananas cast performance.

A trip to an island paradise like Madagascar is a wonderful escape at any time, especially when you’re entertained by a very talented group of about 60 young people.

All the audience – adults, teens and children – love the movie and story of Marty the zebra, Alex the lion, Gloria the dancing hippo and Melman the psychotic giraffe, who journeyed from their New York Zoo home to meet King Julian of the Lemur Kingdom on the island of Madagascar. At times, they seemed to be controlled by the four penguins, as well as their natural instincts.

The costumes were superb thanks to Diane Kilpatrick. I love the onesies that most of the performers wore. It gave a nearly gender-neutral atmosphere to the show.

The face painters, Bridget Tran, Maya Ilic and Susannah Marks, created very clever faces for all the characters, particularly Marty, Gloria, the penguins, Foossas and Lemurs. I especially loved Marty’s and the penguins black and white faces.

The whole audience often clapped along and sang the songs together. Especially “Move it, move it”. There was plenty of humour that the adults laughed at.

Choreography by Bridget Tran was energetic, enthusiastic and well rehearsed and the dancers enjoyed every step.

Serena Cann and the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of South Australia designed a clever set, especially the crate frames and the use of the stairs for entrances as well as the ship’s bridge with the penguins.

Musical Director Alessia Charman, combined with Mosaic AV and Crystal Clear Audio, had just the right balance of sound, music and speech.

I congratulate the Producers Emma Riggs and Kerreane Sarti and Directors Holly Abbott and Montana Vincent for the successful performance, which has inspired and taught new singers, dancers and actors in Adelaide and entertained many people in the four shows in October 2022.

The APPLES cast was lead by Daniella Gareyeva as Marty the monochromatic zebra. She had a great singing voice, groovy dance moves and confidence in leading most of the action of the performance that I enjoyed.

Nemanja Ilic, acting convincingly as the terrified Mouse Lemur, Mort, was also an excellent new young talent.

Nicholas Letella as Alex, Kiera Flynn as Gloria, Henry Tran as Melman and Rudra Mehta as King Julian were very good actors, singers and dancers. Also the Penguins were whimsically well played by Samara Perkovic as Skipper, Kiera Wubbolts as Kowalski, Chelsea Collins as Rico and Milla Illic as Private.  The whole ensemble moved and danced together like a well-oiled machine, with teamwork evident and much practice by all.

BANANAS Cast review*

The leader of the escapees was Alex the Lion played by Sebastion Cox. His ability to roar scared some of the other performers while his stage presence indicated he was the king of the jungle. His voice like all the others had clear diction and was a pleasure to listen to. His actions when trying to get a steak to eat had the other animals worried.

The most likely place to get a steak in the wild was from Marty the Zebra played by Elliot Purdie. Despite the unwanted attention he remained a true friend of Alex. The gyrations, dancing and singing of Marty was a highlight.

The hypochondriac Melman the Giraffe played by Otis Mullan was true to the story and delivered many of the funny lines with aplomb. His interaction with Gloria the Hippo played by Miley Vincent gave life to both of the characters.

One of the scene stealers was King Julian the Lemma played by Benji Marks. He had some great lines in the script and delivered them to perfection, his consistent interpretive movement across the stage added to the portrayal of the character.

The four Penguins, Madelin Wilholt as Skipper, Jasper Darwent as Kowalski, Catherine Kilpatrick as Rico and Reese Holt as Private all moved with penguin like precision and added to the fine voices of all the cast.

The zookeepers Zeldd played by Eliza Jackson and Zeke played by Mia Schlammerl also added to the very accomplished singing performances..

Harper Thomas was the little Lemma Mort who convincingly cried when confronted by the lion. Harry Marks was the other Lemma Maurice that steadfastly stood by Mort.

* BANANAS Cast reviewed by David Evans.

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