The movie that the Broadway new musical “Amelie” is based on must be one heck of a charming film based on the effort demonstrated last night at the Walter Kerr theatre. Lost on me, however, as I never saw that film and could not make heads nor tails of the muddled mess I saw on stage. I was in a distinct minority in a supportive audience but to me it seemed interminable.
It is not the style that put me off. I am a big fan of quirky, grand Michel LeGrande musicals. Give me some “Umbrellas of Cherbourg” or “Amour” any day of the week. And there was plenty of talent that went into this work. Phillapa Soo was sparkling on stage and everyone, including the abundant animations worked very hard to win over my heart. But it never seemed a focused or effective narrative. My guess is that the creators slavishly musicalized the film instead of striking off in their own direction to tell the story (and stage musicals are different creatures from art films).
Though the audience was enthusiastic I was not the only naysayer. It had middling to poor reviews and received no TONY nominations at all. Though I did not see the Twitter announcements until after the 3 hour show (sorry just seemed that way, only one hour forty minutes) apparently a closing notice was posted at half hour. It ends May 21. See it before it closes. Or not.