Superb, comic puppetry and a decent score ensure an easy transition to the stage for the great Madagascar film epic.
And with seemingly-endless dates ahead on a tour which stretches right through until June next year, there is no doubt the cast will expand to inhabit it fully.
For the moment, though, for all its charms, for all the skill of its performers, there’s no denying that a lot of it feels just slightly flat. The lemurs give the second half a big dose of energy and fun – energy and fun which will need to filter through to the rest of it.
Matt Terry – winner of 2016’s X-Factor – leads the cast as Alex The Lion, and he does so with assurance, but it’s actually the X-Factor that the show is missing just now.
Jo Parsons ups the ante nicely as King Julien in the second half, and it’s that mix of cheekiness and cheerfulness which needs to seep through elsewhere.
The songs are good, the choreography is tight, but the sparkle isn’t quite there yet. There’s no doubting it will happen, but maybe we’re catching the tour a little too early in Portsmouth.