AMÉLIE THE MUSICAL | London, New Wimbledon Theatre

An unbelievably impressive ensemble of sixteen actor-musicians brings this 2001 French cinematic masterpiece to the stage, for the first time in the U.K. Daniel Messé’s breezy, folky score is light on percussion and heavy on colourful harmony with strings and vocals.

At two and a half hours (with an interval), we have longer than the film to explore the surreal and upsetting childhood Amélie (Audrey Brisson) has to endure at the hands of her two uptight, cello-wielding parents (Jez Unwin, Rachel Dawson). Where in the film her childhood is dealt with in a whirlwind, silly way, this stage adaptation clearly marks it out as the reason for Amélie’s social anxiety.

The musical format allows us some really interesting angles that the film can’t. Firstly, shy, photo-booth obsessive Nino (Danny Mac) sings to us: Mac’s rich, tuneful voice gives a new insight into his character. We also see a dream sequence where Elton John (Caolan McCarthy) performs a grandiose musical eulogy at Amélie’s wake, and we even get a song from Amélie’s dad’s world-traveller gnome (Josh Sneesby).

The impressive set (Madeleine Girling) remains the same throughout, a gigantic structure that crosses a Paris Metro station with a local café-bar, including two pianos that fold out into a drugstore and grocer. But the most impressive thing about this production is the cast, all quadruple threats, all on stage throughout. They bring this retelling of the classic film to life.

Amélie The Musical visits London until 25 May 2019.

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