This imaginative take on the 2001 romantic comedy is delightfully warm and whimsical – ★★★★★
When a musical adaptation of the five-time Oscar-nominated film Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain opened on Broadway, its soundtrack had more of an American two-step to it than a Parisian allure. Now, director Michael Fentiman brings it over to the UK with a natural French touch – one of charm, cheek and passion.
In a true display of talent, most of Amélie‘s company are members of the on-stage orchestra as well as characters in the production. For a tale all about a solitary woman who finds joy by helping others, the interconnection feels all too appropriate – even more so when admiring Madeleine Girling’s award-winning set design, a circular apartment perfectly illustrating the bubble in which Amélie lives her life.
With quiet playfulness, Audrey Brisson glows as Amélie. While guided by a strong moral compass in her helping of others, she is unable to express her true emotions after a chance encounter with photograph collector Nino (played with comfortable calmness by Chris Jared). When Amélie’s vulnerability is revealed to us in Stay, it is overwhelmingly moving – her previous bottling up of emotions particularly resonant in a world which perhaps isn’t as heartfelt as it should be.
It is therefore fortunate that with witty humour and beautiful harmonies, Amélie succeeds in lifting us out of that plateau – if at least for a couple of hours. From talking fish to Elton John (brilliantly impersonated by Caolan McCarthy), its sharp, quirky comedy is a striking contrast to its intimacy.
Amélie is, quelle surprise, a musical for dreamers. With incredible tenderness, it warms hearts, blooms and soars.
Amélie The Musical is now playing at The Other Palace until 1 February 2020.
Production Images: Pamela Raith.
Disclaimer: I was invited to watch Amélie for free in exchange for a review of the performance as a member of the press. I did not receive payment for this review and all opinions stated are honest and my own.