Review: ‘Amélie’ at Walter Kerr Theater

By Jonathan Spira on 14 April 2017
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If you are looking for something to do one afternoon or evening, you could see “Amélie,” inspired by the 2001 French film of the same name, or you could watch something equally off beat and sanguine, perhaps an ABC Afterschool Special.

Both would be entertaining, slightly controversial, but would have little lasting effect.

Indeed, despite the presence of the talented Phillipa Soo in the title role, “Amélie” never seems to grab the audience to the point where they will care about the characters. It is, however, full of good (albeit not very memorable) songs, a beautifully designed set, and dreams.

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“I can see the world I’m dreaming all around me,” sings Young Amélie (played charmingly by Savvy Crawford)

A good musical leaves you humming a tune or two on the way out, even if you don’t remember it the next day. In this case, instead of a tune the word “saccharine” served that function instead.

It is, however, creative, albeit in a childlike manner. Indeed, we first meet Amélie as a youngster in the 1980s. In a matter of a quarter hour, Young Amélie grows up to become the independent and lonely Amélie of 1997, who moves to Paris on her own and gets a job as a waitress. The news of Princess Diana’s death inspires her to try to anonymously do good turns for other people, something she attempts in a most Amélie and whimsical air.

Amélie returns lost treasures, plays matchmaker (although Yenta need not be concerned), and pushes her father out of his backyard bromance with the garden gnome. Her biggest challenge, however, is the return of a book of discarded photo-booth snaps to its owner, a move that could lead her to happiness and her destiny.

While the show itself is agreeable, it’s simply too sweet and oddly sentimental in a way that does not seem genuine. Unless you are a big fan of the movie, just stay home and watch an ABC rerun instead.

THE DETAILS

Amélie
Walter Kerr Theater
219 W 48th Street
New York, N.Y. 10036
www.ameliebroadway.com

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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