MUSICAL REVIEW: Améile ★★★★
Kings Theatre, Glasgow
Monday 19th - 24th August 2019
It's the interval of Amélie at Kings Theatre in Glasgow, and a fellow audience member audibly shares that she had initial concerns over the musical due to the 2001 film of the same name being one of her favourites, and following the previous Broadway version starring Phillipa Soo, which bombed and closed with three months, this lady had a tight to be concerned, though from the reaction around the bar, and myself included, this first act of this spectacular musical is just that, spectacular and magical.
The UK version of this musical have taken the bold choice in providing the actor musicians on stage with incredibly realistic and authentic french accents to suit the characters, something which was unheard of on Broadway judging by the cast album. Audrey Brisson, who portrays the titular protagonist in our story, enhances so many emotions at once that she's compelling and as always a pleasure to watch on stage, where you can really see her relish in her artform; alongside Danny Mac as Nino, a man who is entangled within a mystery of his own, the chemistry is truly felt with a pure presence; there's a moment in the latter part of the second act which lasts for over two minutes, and you'll know the moment as soon as it hits you, were you can tell that the audience as completely hooked and invested in this tale as you could most certainly hear a pin drop if there was ever a more appropriate metaphor.
Though Brisson and Mac shine on stage, it would be unfair to not give credit to the enlightened ensemble cast of actor musicians; multi-roling throughout, they provide and continue to strive throughout the whole production complete perfection with shifting between instruments, which sends electrifying on stage when mixing the acoustic flavour behind the lyrics, written by Messé and Nathan Tysen, with the book courtesy of Craig Lucas. Though at times the storyline trails off from our main protagonists in the piece, at times grinding to a hault, the music soars throughout and brings back home the message of hope and love; 'Stay', a song sung in the somewhat climax of the production, brought tears to my eyes as we completely embody and reflect on Amélie's struggles right up to this point.
Overall, Améile is a beautiful, timeless tale with a protagonist at its centre holding a huge imagination which bursts into the stage in such a humane existence, and one which I would definitely return to and investigate further.