AMELIE, A New Musical”

L-R: Savvy Crawford and Phillipa Soo in “Amélie, A New Musical” at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre. “Photo by Joan Marcus.

** 1/2
“Amélie” is a 2001 French film starring the enchanting Audrey Tautou in a hyper-fantastical tale of a sheltered young woman with a unique vision of the world.  The film is nonstop eye candy with a tender heart. AMELIE, A New Musical”, is based on the movie, and has the equally enchanting Phillipa Soo, scenery and costumes that are eye candy and a heart that begs to be loved.  And that distinction weighs negatively on the delicate nature of this sweet story.

Craig Lucas has boosted the romance in the story and lost its originality. The opening is a little too coy and in trying to recreate the whirlwind feel of the movie, it becomes only marginally coherent. Once the show hits its stride it regains intelligibility and loses its uniqueness. Amélie’s young self/ confidante feels hackneyed and the ancillary characters are underused. The music and lyrics are pleasant and could use more varied arrangements.

Phillipa Soo‘s Amélie gives Audrey Tautou a run for her money. Charismatic, bewitching and sly, she sings from her guarded, creative heart and almost makes this 1:40 minute musical worth seeing.

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