Madagascar The Musical – Review – Bradford Alhambra

Madagascar The Musical – Review – Bradford Alhambra (3)

By Christine Goode, February 2024

Adorned with her backpack, Christine sets off for Madagascar with her trusty companion… Ten minutes later, they arrive at The Bradford Alhambra to see Madagascar The Musical!

It is half term, and hundreds of families are flocking to see one of their favourite films brought to life on stage, starring CBBC favourite Karim Zeroual. As a family-friendly show, it starts early at 7pm. The excitement is palpable as they enter the theatre; it is lovely to see so many happy little faces, all eagerly anticipating the appearance of their beloved cartoon characters – Marty, Alex, Gloria, Melman, and the mischievous penguins.

As they take their seats, they see an impressive set with bright colours emulating an African sunset, with cargo boxes surrounding the proscenium and wings. A wistful dawn chorus starts and then, bang! Non-stop high-energy fun unfolds with the tale most know and love. For those unfamiliar, the plot follows lovable Marty the zebra, who, while celebrating at his surprise 10th birthday party, wishes he could be free and live back in the wild. His dreams soon become reality, although not as originally planned. The audience follows their uproarious escapades, accompanied by surprises and delightful original songs such as ‘It’s Showtime’, ‘Best Friends’, ‘I Like to Move It’, and ‘Together Forever’.

Madagascar The Musical – Review – Bradford Alhambra (2)

“Dancing prowess”

Francisco Gomes shines as Marty, captivating the audience with his spirited hip movements and rendition of ‘Wild And Free’. Joseph Hewlett’s portrayal of Alex, embodying the laid-back jungle king who secretly enjoys the ‘hotel life’ at the zoo, elicits laughter. Jarneia Richard-Noel’s superb vocals as Gloria and Joshua Oakes-Rogers’ comedic flair as Melman complete the quartet.

The ensemble cast impressively transitions between multiple characters, with notable performances by James Hilton-Foster as the Monkey and Connor Keetley as Skipper. Not only are they talented triple threats, but they also excel as puppeteers, breathing life into the playful penguins and other jungle creatures. Karim Zeroual steals the show as King Julien, highlighting his singing and dancing prowess (even on his knees) and captivating the youngest audience members with his energetic performance.

Madagascar The Musical – Review – Bradford Alhambra (1)


Choreography by Fabian Aloise is fun and energetic. Tom Rodgers’ design expertise shines through in the production, seamlessly transitioning from the New York Zoo and cargo ship to the Madagascan jungle. With outstanding costumes that really do bring the cartoon characters before our eyes. Puppet Designer Max Humphries masterfully crafts believable characters that sing and dance alongside the ensemble cast.

Encompassing eccentric acting as one would only expect from this show, dazzling lighting, costumes, and scenery, along with catchy songs, the audience is compelled to ‘Move It, Move It’. Led by the charismatic King Julien, everyone is enthusiastically on their feet, singing along at the finale. The house lights go up after a short runtime of just over 40 minutes for each half, perfect for little ones. There are lots of happy faces, and as they leave, Christine hears excited chatter about favourite characters and many renditions of ‘I Like To Move It’.

‘Madagascar The Musical’ is at Bradford Alhambra until Sunday 18 February, 2024
images: Phil Tragen


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