Like Audrey Tautou's hair in the film, the new Amélie musical playing Los Angeles's Ahmanson theater and heading to Broadway in the spring, is cute.
Charming goes a long way but without more it's not enough to ignite passion or excitement in theatergoers.
The show's music, written by Daniel Messé is serviceable but lacks grandness. A lot of that probably had to do with the rather pedestrian musical direction from Kimberly Grigbsy. Better orchestrations could have lifted the songs a lot!
More lift is definitely needed throughout the show - and not just sonically. The "big opening number" isn't very big. And if you're going for intimate, Broadway's not the best place for that!
Adam Chanler-Berat is a great actor and singer, but he did not fit the part of the male love interest. He's a Mark in a Rent - a role he's we've seen him do - and he was playing too much against type here, to the detriment of the show.
THANKFULLY, Amélie is worth seeing if for no other reason than Phillipa Soo. We first encountered her in 2013 when we saw her off-Broadway in The Great Comet. In this review, we called her "stunning". A little show called Hamilton happened since then and she is now a bonafide leading lady of the great white way.
Her skills are powerful and plentiful!
A big, brilliant voice and that indescribable "it factor". She radiates every moment she's on stage! And, our favorite parts of the show were when Soo was just by herself singing.
Amélie won't be the cultural sensation that Hamilton was, but fans of Phillipa will leave the theater very pleased with her performance.
P.S. The show feels too long to be performed without an intermission. Hopefully they fix that by the time they arrive in New York!