THE first arena tour of popular film Madagascar is descending upon Exeter during February half term.
The popular characters from DreamWorks' Madagascar will take to the stage at Westpoint Arena to recreate the movie magic from the hit 2005 animated film.
Audiences will be able to see the likes of pampered lion Alex, hippopotamus Gloria, and King Julien and the penguins in this brand new production.
The gang will come to life in Exeter from Thursday, February 21 to Sunday, February 24, with a colourful show of songs and dances aimed at the whole family.
The story centres on the animals from New York's Central Park Zoo who find themselves on an unexpected journey to Madagascar.
The show promises to recreate the fun and humour of the animals and their escapades from the popular films in a production of lively storytelling, dance and music, including the hit song Move It, Move It.
It has, on occasion, been somewhat of a stressful task to take our children to the theatre. I'm sure most parents would agree. Sometimes it's "too loud", "too dark" or merely that they spied the ice cream seller on the way in!
Nevertheless, we were very excited to watch Madagascar Live! on its opening night at Bournemouth International Arena. Of course, we had considered all these possible child-related scenarios. We also didn't really know what to expect, being one of the first to see it in the UK.
Luckily, we need not have worried. The anticipation of the Move It, Move It song was on everyone's mind and some were even already jiggling in their seats. As a lovely touch, the children could pick up special Lemur glasses on the way in for this much-anticipated event. The children still wear them now in fact.
From the very start, the amazing costumes and lights kept the attention of all of us, not just the children. The fact that you could see the people in costume ensured that any nervous children could easily be reassured. If it's possible, each person looked like they were perfect for their chosen character. We all had our favourites, but each one really was as talented as the next. All the incredible voices we were treated to only increased the enjoyment of the amazingly catchy original songs. Look out for a particularly catchy song about Alex the Lion's love of meat. There are a few surprises in there and I must say it really made us smile.
The cast continually involved the audience and it was lovely that every now and again there was some audience participation, although, don't worry, nothing too embarrassing. Our two-year-old was most excited that a penguin walked right up to her and rest assured, she'll be dining on that story for weeks!
I must admit that the arrival of The King, ring-tailed lemur Julien, was the climax of the performance. He really did steal the show and mesmerised both adults and children alike. He was funny, colourful and extremely enigmatic, just as he is portrayed in the film which makes it perfect for the children to relate to.
If you're worried this will only be fun for your children, don't be! There are a number of adult references throughout which make the grown ups giggle (look out for the penguin in the tube train) and it really is a show you'll want to tell your friends about.
And in case you're wondering… you really do Move it, Move it at the end.
For tickets call 08444 999955.