Madagascar the Musical/Malvern Theatres

IT’S a feast of fun that frazzles the senses, a riot of crazy animal suits, mountainous sets and funky grooves that rock the aisles.

Yet there is also – hidden away among the packing crates, puppets and wacky costumes – a bit of a moral message hidden in this rip-roaring, non-stop action yarn.

The plot. A collection of animals are captive in a New York City zoo. Every day is monotonous in this asphalt and concrete jungle, so no wonder they yearn for freedom.

Then one day, they make a break for it, only to be recaptured and shipped out to Africa. The ship founders and the furry chums find themselves in Madagascar, a tropical paradise where all the creatures rub along just fine.

But the trouble is that Alex the lion, deprived of his daily steak, gradually reverts to type. He wants meat, and lots of it. And that’s why he begins to see former buddy Marty the zebra in a totally different light.

Once, they looked at menus together. Now, old stripey-pants is actually ON the menu…

Brandon Gale as Alex must surely be the leonine pride and joy of this Dreamworks production, strutting and prowling across the stage, while his mate Marty (Darren John) excels in this tale of friendship which endures despite the latter occasionally being eyed up for lunch.

Comedy galore is provided by Timmika Ramsay as Gloria the hysterical hippo, who wallows in the part, along with Jamie Lee-Morgan as Melman, the giraffe who really should wind his neck in occasionally.

Also harvesting much merry mirth is King Julien (Jo Parsons) who does all the kneeling instead of leaving that to his subjects.

Madagascar is great fun with never a dull moment. It runs until Saturday (April 6).

John Phillpott