Amelie The Musical at New Wimbledon Theatre
Amelie is a musical based on the 2001 film of the same name. It tells of Parisian Amelie, who decides to become an anonymous do-gooder, starting with returning a box full of childhood memories to the boy who used to live in her apartment. In her quest she meets Nino, who she is instantly drawn to but her overprotective mothers words ring in her ears and throughout the show she hides from him, setting him riddles until she can run no longer.
The show is beautifully staged and directed by Michael Fentiman. The use of a puppet for young Amelie was a masterstroke and I found myself watching her so intently I could have sworn the puppets expressions changed! There were moments where the touches of comedy had the audience laughing out loud, Amelie’s pet goldfish, the giant gnome and the dancing fig were all brilliant examples of this. These moments kept the show feeling lighthearted despite an underlying moving story. The show is delightfully whimsical with it embracing the quirky elements, making it intriguing but avoiding it from being too odd in order to avoid alienating the audience.
The cast not only take on their characters, make up a strong ensemble vocally but also play all of the music live on stage. The cast of actor-musicians incorporated this into the movement by Tom Jackson Greaves. I left thinking that the music was unmistakably French, haunting and beautiful albeit with no individual memorable individual songs. I am however keen to listen to it again and to hunt out the album on Spotify and see if the Broadway cast recording does it justice.
Audrey Brisson plays Amelie and I could not imagine a more perfect person for this role. Her vocals suit the folky feel to the show but even more than that was her characterization. She nimbly flew up to her flat, climbed onto various items of the set and had a huge amount of quirky warmth to her.
Amelie is a quirky and whimsical musical with Parisian charm and a wonderful mix of the delicate and the comedic in the direction. Well worth seeing for a musical that thinks outside the box.
Amelie is currently touring around the UK. To find out where it is visiting on its tour check out their website.