Michael Fentiman


Amélie is a beautiful blend of melancholy and wistful dreams

Amélie The Musical at The Other Palace
9.7front row score

Amélie The Musical is a musical interpretation of the French Romantic-Comedy film of the same name from 2001.

The Other Palace is Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s newest London theatre, hidden round the back of Victoria just a couple of minutes walk from the commercial hype of Wicked and Hamilton.

You’re almost guaranteed to see something more authentic and deeply-connecting in this lesser-known hub of new musical theatre.

The story follows the life of Amélie Poulain; a sad and disconnected protagonist who yearns for meaningful connections, yet distances herself from them. A sad case of pushing and pulling.

Amélie is, however, a dreamer. Her story is charmingly optimistic once you break through the intial veneer of melancholic distance, created inadvertently by Amélie’s parents who homeschooled her.

Audrey Brisson (Amélie) is undeniably the star of the show! She performs her role so convincingly. It is impossible not to yearn with her, and believe in her dreams.

Brisson carries the comic elements of this musical rom-com so sensitively that she manages to keep the mood light and dreamy, without cheapening the tone.

The orchestration of the show has similarities with Come From Away in that every member of the cast also plays an instrument (or many) through the performance.

Director Michael Fentiman’s dynamic staging adds a real depth to the show, instruments building on the hustle and bustle of the busier scenes – additional cast members in their own rights!

Creatively, Madeleine Girling’s set and Dik Downey’s puppets are both well worth a mention. The set makes excellent use of the space and frames the production perfectly from any seat in the house. And Dik Downey’s puppets powerfully evoke strong emotions of sadness, sympathy and yearning, whilst in other scenes break the tension with a truly comic turn.

If there were to be any element of the show which didn’t quite hit the nail for me, it would be the accents of the ensemble. Unless Paris has moved to somewhere in Eastern Europe?!

Brisson’s French accent was great – though to be fair she has a head start, being French-Canadian! But other members of the cast were less convincing, and there were moments during the performance where I thought it would be less distracting if they had stuck to their natural accent, rather than a put-on, somewhat-foreign something.

The show isn’t on for long, and I believe the run is largely sold-out, but if you can get yourself a ticket I would recommend it. Especially if you’re a dreamer – there’s a lot to connect with in this show.

Click to listen to the full Original Broadway Cast soundtrack of Amélie – The Musical here.

This production of Amélie opened at The Other Palace on 29 November 2019 and closes on 1 February 2020.

Running Time: 2 hours 15 minutes, with a 20 minute interval.

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