Amelie The Musical | Review
by Danni Gillespie
Amelie The Musical | Photo credit: Pamela Raith
Amélie The Musical is the all singing, all dancing, vintage-chic adaptation of the 2001 French romantic comedy Amélie, or The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain to go by the films full title. The film is one of the highest-grossing french films released in the United States, rates as one of the biggest international successes for a French film and has a rather impressive score of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes - a rather large shadow to live in for the Hartshorn - Hook Productions, Selladoor Productions, The Watermill Theatre & Broadway Asia teams to live up to.
The production is not a carbon copy of the film, something which sets this production a part in its creative majesty. The story follows in a similar arc and the most iconic parts of the film are included. You do not feel, however, as though our leading lady (Audrey Brisson playing Amélie) is attempting to be Audrey Tautou, a trap that can be fallen into when playing famous actors in iconic roles, but rather is the socially awkward, shy, home-schooled character that we all love.
Danny Mac brilliantly portrayed Nino, Amélie’s love interest and collector of abandoned photo booth pictures, with the right balance of lovable awkwardness. Amélie’s friends Gina (Sophie Crawford), Georgette (Faoileann Cunningham), Suzanne (Kate Robson-Stuart), Joseph (Samuel Morgan-Grahame), Lucien (Oliver Grant) and Raymond (Chris Jared) are far less socially awkward, but equally as quirky, and were accompanied on stage by their instruments for the majority of the production.
"The show is breath-taking, quirky and wonderfully light-hearted."
Every cast member was armed at one point or another with an instrument, playing not only their character but providing a fantastic, orchestral backing for the lively and beautifully sung songs that told the story of The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain. It is no mean feat to be able to stay in character, provide breathtaking song and play the instrumental accompaniment.
The set is a wonderful shabby-chic Montmartre, complete with phone box, a pair of pianos and artisan Parisian decor. As with many sets in modern productions, each part of the set was multi-functional. The photo-booth itself became numerous front doors, a phone booth and even a confessional. The pianos were played, stood on, and used as a tobacconist. The cast are all dressed in natural, neutral tones, complementing the sent and contrasting beautifully against the vibrant reds and pinks of Amélie’s apparel that set her apart from the crowd.
The show is breath-taking, quirky and wonderfully light-hearted. Catch this show while you can! Oh, did I mention that Elton John, a singing garden gnome and an Amélie puppet make an appearance?