Musical theatre has become somewhat of a natural progression for many X-factor performers.
Alexandra Burke, Amelia Lily and Joe McElderry have all found stage stardom after proving their talents on Simon Cowell’s prime time show.
Now Matt Terry – winner of X Factor 2016 – is treading the boards in his debut acting role as Alex the lion in the new stage adaptation of DreamWorks’ Madagascar The Musical.
And he certainly proves himself as king of the jungle with incredible vocals.
Staying true to the plot of the original animation film, the story follows four New York zoo animals as they break out of captivity.
When the intrepid animals find themselves stranded on Madagascar, Alex’s friendship with his best pal Marty the zebra is put to the test as the charismatic lion fights his inner killer instincts.
Youngsters will love the relationship between Alex and Marty, played with boundless energy by Antoine Murray-Straughan who gives his all during some tight choreography.
Gloria the hip Hippo (Timmika Ramsay) impresses with a soulful voice and punch lines from Jamie Lee-Morgan’s hypochondriac giraffe Melman (‘I can’t help being yellow you know, it’s jaundice’) provide laughs-a-plenty.
Jo Parsons is the star performer in the second act as the hilarious, hyperactive lemur King Julien while the puppetry of the devious, plotting penguins is inspired.
The vibrant show is packed with a sense of adventure, characters with big personalities and an upbeat score – with ‘I like to Move It’ and Alex’s surreal serenade to steaks the stand-out tunes.
Dazzling costumes and a set which moves from New York zoo to a subway scene, on board a boat headed for Africa to deep in the jungle make it a slick production – although it looks like it's originally been designed for a smaller stage than the vast Opera House as viewing at the far sides is restricted.
That aside, Selladoor Worldwide triumphs again with a family show full of charm, laughter, feel good (X-)factor and even a spot of lemur flossing.
By Julia Bennett