Date 6th July 2018
Society Sawston Youth Drama
Venue The Marven Centre, Sawston
Type of Production Youth
Director Jackie Green
Musical Director Pippa Bell
Choreographer Maria Dean


Author: Decia Ranger

I always look forward to seeing shows by this large and very enthusiastic Society, whether it be the older, more experienced seniors, the juniors, or in this case the youngest of the three groups, the 7's. 

A warm welcome awaited us on this lovely summer’s evening, and if the excited voices coming from the rear of the venue as we made our way from the car park, were anything to go by, these young performers couldn’t wait to get on stage for their opening night.

Based on the DreamWorks film of the same name, this musical adventure begins in Central Park Zoo where visitors are being introduced to the animals.   Zoo life seems to suit most of them but the penguins are plotting an escape to Antarctica. When Zebra hears of their plan she starts to dream of living in the wild and one by one she and her friends escape the zoo. The next thing the friends remember is waking up on a ship heading to Madagascar which is about to be hijacked by the penguins, who try to steer it towards Antarctica.

Everyone on stage had obviously been paying attention at rehearsals and the results were there to see.  Lines had been learnt, resulting in good confident acting and the cast were certainly enjoying themselves on stage, which is how it should be. I was only aware of one dialogue slip up and this was swiftly and very well covered.

The penguins in their penguin onesies must have been very hot but they didn’t show any sign of it as they waddled across stage intent on making their get-away.  Well done to Skipper (Eliza Cansfield), Kowalski (Eira Sheridan, Private (James McCunn) and Rico (Chloe Freeman).

There were so many good performances it’s just not possible to mention them all.  According to the synopsis, several of the principal roles were written for males but the casting of females worked well and may of course have been of necessity.  Well done to Mariana Gomes de Sa de Costa for her excellent interpretation of Alex the Lion and to Oren Pilowksy Bankirer as Marty the Zebra.  Their duet “Best Friends” was very nicely sung.  Congratulations also to Mollie Purcell as Gloria the Hippo and Maya Roberts as Melman the Giraffe. Also Harry Lister as Mason the Chimpanzee who sat quietly reading on the edge of the stage before entering into the action.

Looking back over my programme I notice I have written ‘terrific’ by George Sims name and in my opinion his performance as King Julian, King of the Lemurs really deserves this accolade.  Good expressive acting and singing and his solo “I Like to Move it” was really infectious and had the audience clapping along, especially in the reprise.  Very well done – a talent to watch.

An excellent supporting cast, backing tracks which were never too loud and costumes and make-up which were absolutely right, added to the enjoyment of this lovely fun show.

Very well done to all involved and thank you for inviting me.