REVIEW: Amélie The Musical at The Hexagon, Reading.

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Amelie The Musical. Photo by Pamela Raith Photography.
Amelie The Musical. Photo by Pamela Raith Photography.

A captivating tale of self-discovery awaits audiences of a Broadway spectacular showing at The Hexagon this week.

Directed by Michael Fentiman, Amélie The Musical follows a young woman as she struggles to find her place in a world which has swallowed her up since childhood.

The musical opens in the charming city of Paris where polished melodies and genius puppetry set the tone for the faultless performance to follow.

The prologue, performed by company members who deliver both vocals and musical accompaniment throughout the production, is viewers’ first glimpse of Amélie and the parents who are answerable for the sheltered life she is prisoner to.

Amelie The Musical. Photo by Pamela Raith Photography.

Audrey Brisson is exceptional as Amélie, encapsulating the innocent, but mesmeric curiosity of her character in every twitch, expression and line that she performs.

Authentic splendour can also be found in Brisson’s flawlessly refined French accent.

Cast members Kate Robson-Stuart, Faoileann Cunningham, and Sophie Crawford give refreshing performances in their roles as Suzanne, Georgette, and Gina who are co-workers to Amélie during her employment at a Parisian café.

And although her only fixed contact with reality, it is in the café that Amélie contents herself on observing a world she has no dream to be part of. A world in which hypochondriacs, heartbreak and the death of a British princess are just three more reasons not to venture from the solace of her bedroom walls.

Johnson Willis gives an endearing show as Amélie’s neighbour Dufayel whose prompting honesty is the turning point in Amélie’s self-discovering.

Meanwhile, Danny Mac who plays the role of Nino- Amélie’s first love interest -does so with admirable integrity: mirroring Brisson’s impressive grasp of an equally unusual personality.

Amelie The Musical. Photo by Pamela Raith Photography.

Heart-warming in places, this new musical also unlocks moments of humour which Caolan McCarthy can be thanked for.

For five minutes of sublime stupidity, McCarthy embodies Elton John at a phantom funeral where he serenades and sympathises with Amélie for her failure to find love.

Comedic credit must also be given to Samuel-Morgan Grahame who plays the roles of Fluffy- Amélie’s scaley companion -and Joseph, Gina’s ex-boyfriend and a regular customer of the café.

Grahame’s superb performance as Fluffy combined with Dik Downey’s enchanting puppetry is one of the many moments of loveable lunacy in the show.

And it is creative triumphs like these, fused with the highly talented cast, which makes the musical so magical.

Amelie The Musical. Photo by Pamela Raith Photography.

Amélie The Musical is unpredictable, bold and heroic.

Amélie The Musical runs at The Hexagon until Saturday, October 12. Tickets start at £27.50. For more information or to book tickets log on to www.readingarts.com/whats-on/amelie.

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