Amelie - The Other Palace

Following successful runs at Watermill Theatre and on a UK Tour Amelie has settled in London at The Other Palace where it plays for 2 more weeks of a sold-out run. Based on the 2001 French-language movie which Audrey Tautou starred in the title role. Michael Fentiman's outstanding production richly deserved it's London run. It carries all the feeling of the movie and makes it into something magical on stage.
Audrey Brisson as Amelie. Photo by Pamela Raith
As soon as the musical begins with the rumbling sound of the Paris Metro and these whimsical characters all appear on the stage and 'The Flight of the Blue Fly'  begins you are hooked. The use of actor-musicians really strengthens the production. The company play with such a skill that they are a pleasure to watch.

We meet Amelie at the end of the opening number and you too instantly feel a connection to her. Audrey Brisson brings out everything character trait of Amelie to perfection.  Here is a part so perfectly cast. She is outstanding to watch throughout and you really invest in this character's journey because of how Audrey portrays her. She is a triple threat and more.

Once Amelie meets Nino by chance at the Metro Station photo booth there's an instant connection, a connection that carries throughout the piece as their love story develops until a beautiful moment where the two stand in complete silence and kiss. Chris Jared encompasses Nino and is completely believable. He is rugged but charming. Chris boasts a beautiful vocal too, none more so than his characters two stand out numbers 'When The Booth Goes Bright' and 'Thin Air'. He perfectly matches Audrey's Amelie.

Throughout this charming tale, there are numerous wonderful characterisations from the company many of whom play more than one role. Johnson Willis is excellently mysterious as Dufayel. 'The Girl With The Glass' is stunning as Johnson's and Audrey's voices combine beautifully. Oliver Grant does fine puppetry (puppets designed by Dik Downey) alongside his roles as Lucien and Mysterious Man, his standout moment coming in 'There's No Place Like Gnome'.

Emma Jane Morton understudying for Gina does fine work and 'Window Seat' is a touching number that she sings with real heart. Caolan McCarthy boasts one of the strongest voices in the company and the act one showstopping finale number 'Goodbye Amelie' where he becomes Elton John is brilliant. Rachel Dawson as Amelie's mother is charming and 'Halfway' sung by Audrey and Rachel in the second act is a magical number.

Jez Unwin is powerfully moving as Amelie's father Raphael and as Bretodeau who hides all his childhood possessions in a metal box which Amelie returns to him with during the number 'How To Tell Time', it really pulls at the heartstrings. Jez has a great quality of how he emotes how a character is feeling. He's a fantastic presence and performer. Kate Robson-Stuart is outstanding throughout. She gives her absolute all to every moment of her performance. She has such a warm and likeable quality that make her so watchable.
The company during 'Goodbye Amelie'. Photo by Pamela Raith 
Madeleine Girling's tremendous design effectively takes us to the heart of Paris. The stage resembles a Paris Metro station initially but with the use of props and lighting by Elliot Griggs it moves to various locations seamlessly. The use of a lampshade that carries Amelie into her apartment is a stroke of genius.

The music and lyrics of Daniel Messé and Nathan Tysen which was completely re-worked for the UK production are gorgeous. It's lyrically superb and with the actor-musician, its resonates stronger as you get to watch the skill of the performers first hand. It'll be a great shame if this production disappears without a UK cast recording.

This is really theatre at it's finest. 2 and a half hours of charming, quirky and magical theatre. You'll leave feeling uplifted and warm. Musical theatre does not come any better than this.

Rating - ★★★★★ an outstanding Parisian delight. Magical theatrical perfection.
The company of Amelie. Photo by Pamela Raith

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