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REVIEW: Amelie at Wycombe Swan

Siobhan Newman

REVIEW: Amelie at Wycombe Swan

Take a leap into Montmartre, plunge down to the Metro, fly up to a bird’s nest flat and let Amelie the Musical immerse you in Paris.

The much-loved film has come to the stage in an ebullient adaptation directed by Michael Fentiman.

It takes place in Paris in the summer of 1997, though with flashbacks to Amelie's childhood and even conception (prompting a slightly nervous giggle from the audience).

The set is ingenious, a confessional becomes a phonebooth, pianos become train compartments or flip down to serve as a tobacco stand or shop counter.

We see how Amelie, misdiagnosed with a heart condition and  brought up by 'a neurotic and an iceberg’, retreats into her imagination. A lonely young woman, on the day of Princess Diana's death she has a lightbulb moment that prompts her to right wrongs and bring light into the world around her.

But when she sees Nino a young man who collects discarded pictures from photobooths, her heart and her tranquility are suddenly in jeopardy.

Puppetry is used to show the heroine as a child or playing with a goldfish  (not forgetting one show-stopping scene about a roaming gnome) while the gorgeoue waltzes and songs reveal the flaws and flair of the characters in Amelie's world.

The  cast of actor/musicians play multiple parts, as well as their instruments on the move, concertinaing together to create crowds or emerging as people from the cafe.

 It all looks ravishing, from the pretty palette of costume colours to  tableaux on the train to the bijou apartment that really looks like a jewel.

And the moment when the heroine and Nino reach more than halfway was breathtaking.

Danny Mac  as Nino sings beautifully and has an easy grace and particular mention should go to Kate Robson-Stuart, delightful as violin-playing cafe owner Suzanne.

Audrey Bresson shines bright as Amelie – a perfect gamine with a brunette bob, big dark eyes and lithe physicality.

This modern French fairytale manages to shrug off any hint of tweeness and embrace you with warmth and charm. Allons-y.

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