A new musical adaptation of the 2001 cult French film "Amelie" opened Monday night on Broadway. Theatre critic Roma Torre filed the following review.
"Amelie," based on the 2001 French film, talks of enigmas, riddles, and paradoxes. And that is awfully fitting because I can't figure out how in the world this treacly musical made it to the Broadway stage.
There really is just one reason to see the musical, and that's lead actress Phillipa Soo. Fresh from her Tony-nominated performance in "Hamilton," she is effervescent and quite lovely in the role of the quirky innocent with the big imagination. But all that and a pristine voice does little to salvage this misfire of a show.
From the music to the staging to the cartoonish set design, it reeks of well-intentioned children's theatre — you know, the kind that compensates for low budgets by resorting to improvisational shortcuts. It's a deliberate conceptual style, but on that very big Broadway stage, it just seems amateurish.
On film, the story of Amelie, raised in a benignly dysfunctional home, is irresistibly whimsical, but its French charms are sadly lost in translation. And without having seen the film, it's confusing and structurally disjointed.
Matching the film's cast of eccentric characters, the talented performers are undermined by a diet of forced preciousness. And Adam Chanler-Berat is fine as the romantic lead, but it's tiresome watching how long it takes him and Amelie to finally hook up.
One of the characters in the show is a struggling writer who comes up with the line, "If God were trees, cognac would be the sap." I rest my case. Sappy, indeed.