Based on the five-time Oscar-nominated film, Amélie tells the story of “an astonishing young women who lives quietly in the world, but loudly in her mind”.
Amélie secretly improvises small, but extraordinary acts of kindness which bring happiness to those around her. When a chance at love comes her way, Amélie realises that to find her own contentment she’ll have to risk everything and finally say what’s in her heart.
“Although times are hard for dreamers, Amélie is someone to believe in.”
As somebody who’s never actually seen the original film, I went into the Bristol Old Vic blind, but extremely excited. The musical originally opened at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2015 and starred none-other than West End sweetheart Samantha Barks. Amélie then transferred to Los Angeles in 2016 and eventually Broadway in 2017.
Since its Broadway run the show has been significantly reimagined and is now making its UK premier on a brand new tour.
The show is running at the Bristol Old Vic till this Saturday before continuing on tour, and let’s just say you need to go and buy, beg or borrow a ticket. This show is simply extraordinary.
Set in pre-millennium Paris, Madelaine Girling’s set works to effortlessly transport audiences to the smoky cafes and bustling metro stations of Amélie‘s life. The set may be simple but seems to work perfectly in smaller theatres like the Bristol Old Vic. The close and intimate staging allows audiences the chance to get close to the quiet and reserved Amélie who remains quite frankly, an enigma to all those around her.
The production consists of an incredibly strong ensemble of actor-musicians who fill the stage with adequately turned French accents and a truly beautiful score of calm and emotionally rich numbers.
While the entire cast were incredible, there was one particular star who shone brighter than the rest, and that’s Audrey Brisson. Audrey offers an Amélie who is emotionally stunted, but utterly lovable. Her vulnerability is counter balanced by a childish joy and you cannot help but root for her as she takes her path to new-found happiness. I honestly don’t think they could’ve found a better Amélie, and for me, it was a real treat to hear her beautiful rendition of one of my all-time favourite theatre songs, Stay (which I totally didn’t realise was from this musical!).
I also want to give a special mention to Danny Mac who plays the rugged and broody Nico. Nico is an artist, he’s quiet and he has an undeniable charm which opens Amélie‘s eyes to range of new wonders within the world. Together Audrey and Danny offer audiences an incredibly raw climax (with the jokes in this show I feel uneasy using the word climax, but I’m going to stick with it), and the audience cannot help but collectively hold their breath in anticipation. Seriously. You could’ve heard a pin drop!
Amélie has no big show-stopping numbers, it has no evil villain and it has no jazz hands. It may not be flashy or showy but this is a show with heart and an undeniable charm which will leave you on the edge of your seat and desperately wanting more.
Amélie is running at the Bristol Old Vic till Saturday 20th of July before continuing on its UK Tour. For more information or to book tickets head to the official Amélie UK Tour site.
Review Date: 16/07/2019
Cast at the Performance I Attended: Audrey Brisson, Danny Mac, Sophie Crawford, Faoileann Cunningham, Rachel Dawson, Oliver Grant, Nuwan Hugh Perera, Chris Hared, Charley Magalit, Caolan McCarthy, Samuel Morgan-Grahame, Emma Jane Morton, Kate Robson-Stuart, Josh Sneesby, Jez Unwin and Jognson Willis.
Images courtesy of Bristol Old Vic.