Whimsical look at Parisian life

AMELIE - The Musical at the Manchester Opera House

THIS quite unique and enthralling production is the re-creation and adaptation of the 2001 French romantic comedy film featuring the eponymous Amelie.

Here, she is played by the appropriately demure Audrey Brisson, who appears intent upon changing the lives of all those around her for the better.

It is an endearing, whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life, set in Montmartre.

There is, for the most time, a calmness and a serenity that pervades the stage.

It is a musical but with dialogue of unusual depth and a storyline that, for me, can sometimes be rather difficult to follow.

Nothing however can detract from the overall message - of hope and genuine giving.

When some considerable time ago the show of this name apparently went to Broadway, it apparently only had a brief run, which is a real shame.

I see no reason why this particular version of the show would not blow them away.

The work that has obviously gone into creating this show is self-evidently staggering.

The scene is convincingly authentic, the scenery immensely swish, and the changes of scene exceedingly well-oiled.

It is all seemingly faultless, even on the opening night, to the immense credit of all concerned.

It is a complex and intricate tale, full of humorous and emotive touches and almost always played out to the pleasing sound of Parisian violins and a delicately strummed piano.

There is curious intimacy and a continuous flow of tuneful melodies and musical creations.

There is pathos, romance and an abundance of escapism into a world of make believe, but never too far from reality to transform it into farce. Brisson plays, looks and sings Amelie brilliantly.

But without her fellow actors and actresses, the stage would be bare.

They complement one another magnificently some wonderfully operatic voices singing the many pleasant, relevant songs that enhance the dialogue, while lines are spoken with empathetic French accents.

Though set in the 1970s, the action on stage shows few signs of brashness.

There are occasional flashes of bright lights but in the main, there is a certain French style, frantic sometimes but always with a reflective French accent.

A story well told, songs well-sung and instruments pleasantly played to perfection.


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