6th November 2023
After Amelie’s stint on Broadway led to a UK tour, the charming Parisian cult classic theatrical trinket has come to London for a brief spell.
Director Michael Fentiman creates a world where anything is possible. Amelie wants her audiences to realise that we are all connected and manages to do so. After a lonely childhood as the only infant of her Mother and Father, Amelie has become a reclusive adult. Constantly, she plots schemes to connect those in the café where she works and invites us into her wild plans. Audrey Brisson is an ethereal presence on stage as Amelie, who would succeed in getting the guy if the characters had had more than just fleeting encounters. ‘The guy’ in this case is Nino (Chris Jared), who captures Amelie’s heart very early on. Nino would be her love if only she was not so afraid of seeing him longer than fleetingly.
Something is striking from the word go about this musical. All of the actors are actor musicians. They play the music live and on average play three instruments throughout the play. It is a magical sight as these actors create a veritable wall of sound. Staging is incredibly imaginative, with every ounce of space used. Examples of this ingenious design by Madeleine Girling include a prop photo booth doubling as a house, and the inside of a piano holding the café’s condiments. It is intriguing and awareness of the power of each and every small detail is realised.
Every part of this play is captivating, particularly the Princess Diana scene. Amelie is mourning the death of her hero and, glimpsing into her imagination, she imagines a Princess Diana-esque funeral of her own. It is creative and almost unbelievable as we see an Elton John character singing an ode to Amelie and the actor musicians become a gospel choir. It is easy to understand why this play has got so much positive press as it is a quick escape to a beautifully charming world. Actor musicians are extraordinary talents, especially Amelie’s dulcet tones.
Overall, the scaled down production is impressive. The production is a perfect mixture of the human and melancholy. Actor musicians rise to the challenge of juggling multiple instruments and singing and it is seamlessly conveyed on stage. If you are a musical fan and looking for something different to go and watch, I would highly recommend Amelie. It is a truly clever show, engaging from start to finish and thought provoking and well worth visiting London to watch.
Running at The Other Palace, Victoria, London. Runs until February 1st. Tickets are available at https://lwtheatres.co.uk/whats-on/amelie/