Nathan Webster has just been named RHS Young Gardener of the Year 2023.  He won the title after his garden design won gold at the RHS Tatton show. Photographed at Wright Landscapes, Knutsford.
Pic copyright Phil Tragen 2023

Come and see the smash-hit family favourite Madagascar the Musical

Popular TV Presenter, theatre performer and Strictly Finalist Karim Zeroual leads the cast of the brand-new UK tour of smash-hit family favourite Madagascar the Musical as the hilarious King Julien.

Best known for anchoring CBBC and reaching the final of Strictly Come Dancing in 2019. We spoke to Karim about taking on the role of everyone’s favourite eccentric Lemur!

How do you feel about taking on the iconic role of King Julien?

I’m hugely excited and it feels like a real honour. I have been honing in on what King Julien might actually be like as a human – which may sound a bit ‘method’ but I’m trying to get some insight into what he is like and why, and how he has pulled together this ‘crew’ where whatever he says goes!  There is a sense of responsibility in bringing to life a character that everyone knows so well and loves which is a little bit scary too but I think I’m doing a good job so far!

King Julien is such fun to play. I get to perform arguably the most iconic song from the show with Move it Move it. It’s a real laugh, it kind of feels like a mini rave on stage! I feel very privileged to have this part and to be honest I think it’s really well suited to me…

Are you telling us there is a little bit of King Julien in you? 

I’m not sure I want to say but I think there actually is you know!  I’m quite small and look like a lemur…(haha kidding) I can a little flamboyant and a bit cheeky and naughty and thinks he is right all the times, so I think some traits yes, maybe just a hint…!

I also play Zeke at the start of the show. He is like a zookeeper who introduces all the animals.  That feels a bit like a home from home for me to, as it’s something I have done all my career as a presenter which is really nice.  Playing a human role, I’m able to show a little bit more of ‘me’ – although in character. It’s great to play these two separate parts, one which is more like me and the other where I’m really in character and hardly recognizable.

Without giving to much away you are having to test your dancing skills again – this time on your knees? 

Haha Yes, I’m sure by the end of the tour I will build a bit of resilience and have the toughest knees in the world of musical theatre!

The costumes in this show are just amazing once the makeup and the costume is on that’s when King Julien really comes to life for me.

When King Julien appears it’s a real ‘moment’ which marks a gear change in the show as the Zoosters find themselves thrown into this crazy new world of Madagascar. It’s hilarious as all the other cast towers over me, this mad delusional lemur thinking and behaving as if he is king of the universe even though he’s only about 3 foot tall…

Who do you think will enjoy Madagascar?

This is a show for everyone – it is a family show but I think there is something for everyone. There are some cheeky parts and King Julien definitely has some of those moments.   Also everyone knows and loves the film, every generation still knows it, and it’s always popping up on the TV and steaming services!  So to see some of these iconic characters played out in real life is just fantastic. The concept and characters never seem to get old.

So aside from getting to Move it Move it with King Julien why do you think people should come and see the show?

Genuinely this show has everything; superb singing, dancing, acting, alongside the most beautiful costumes and amazing puppetry work, it’s colourful, it’s bright and it’s funny and the talent on the stage is incredible. If you want a good night out and to have a really good laugh and leave the theatre with a smile on your face this is for you.  It’s a show for all the family whether you come with your Grandma, Great Grandma, Kids, Nieces, Nephews or a group of friends, I guarantee you will have a great night.

Filled with outlandish characters, adventure galore and an upbeat score, you’ll have no choice but to “Move It, Move It!”

Find out more at www.madagascarthemusical.co.uk  or follow on @MadUKTour on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and X. #MoveItMoveIt #MadagascarMusical

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