During the past two decades, cartoons have been transformed into big-budget, big-business and big-bucks. At the forefront of this advancement from the carefree days of shorter animation from Hanna Barbera, Tom and Jerry and Roobarb and Custard, are Disney (still), Pixar (a Disney subsidiary responsible for the Toy Story series and Monsters Inc) and Dreamworks. The latter are the makers and distributors of Kung-Fu Panda and are worth over a billion dollars. No, really.
It's not hard to see why - animators are global nowadays, for example Dreamworks' biggest revenue-busting success in Russia recently was Madagascar 3 Europe's Most Wanted - in fact, it was the country's highest-grossing animated film of all time. Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo and Melman the Giraffe can clearly charm kids and adults across the world, but it isn't just on screen we can all see them - they've also been treading, or should that be prowling, galloping, bumbling and parading, across theatre stages.
Following a somewhat premature end to the US version in 2011, Madagascar Live! has been refreshed, revisited and recreated using elements of the debut blockbuster film, Madagascar, originally released in 2005 and tells the story of the aforementioned captive animals enjoying their captivity in New York City's zoo. After unexpectedly being re-sited back to Africa, they become marooned (on Madagascar) and set about trying to escape back to the US. The memorable tale, along with naggingly catchy theme-tune 'Move It Move It' (the one your kids will be singing forever after), will be played out as a series of touring shows across the UK during 2013.
Confirmed so far are Bournemouth from 10th to 13th January 2013, Birmingham (18th to 20th), Brighton (25th to 27th), Nottingham (1st to 3rd February), Newcastle (8th to 10th), Cardiff (15th to 17th) and Wembley Arena from 1st to 3rd March. Tickets are bound to make great Christmas presents.