Amélie The Musical is a long, meandering, surreal show.
The 2001 French film was almost universally adored. It won numerous awards and five Oscar nominations.
I love the original. It gives you snapshots of Amélie’s life, when she was born in 1975 all the way up to the late 90s.
Each arpeggio in the score recalls another, the cinematography bewitching, as you watch the life of a lonely waitress in Paris.
But while there is an effort to be faithful to the film, I was left feeling comme ci comme ça by the musical.
Left feeling comme ci comme ça by Amélie The Musical
Audrey Brisson is the stand-out performer, like birdsong trilling above a traffic jam.
She’s not only charming and sweet, but also consistent. The rest of the cast give fine performances, but some French accents are erratic and distracting.
When it’s a film, it doesn’t really matter that there’s virtually no plot. Film language can entrance you in other ways.
The musical, however, attempts to force drive and pace into a love story between two hipsters.
Danny Mac as Nino, a sex shop worker trying to find love and the mysterious man in his photo collection, is a confident male lead. Together, Mac and Brisson need more chemistry to make their relationship believable.
I just wish the songs had been more memorable.
It had all the ingredients to make me love it – a cast playing instruments on stage has always won me over before.
But I was just missing Yann Tierson’s wonderful score from the original. Each song on that soundtrack transports you to France. But, for last night’s show, I was left stranded in Wimbledon.
Don’t get me wrong, I really wanted to enjoy Amélie the Musical. I enjoyed the more surreal moments, like an appearance from Elton John, dancing figs, or the gnome puppet.
But for too long, I just wasn’t captivated.