Once upon a time………….
I’m sure most of us have watched the film “Shrek” with Donkey, Princess Fiona and their band of weird and wonderful Fairy Tale Characters, but for those that don’t know the story, it is based around an ‘outcast’ green ogre called Shrek and his ‘noble-steed’ and sidekick ‘Donkey.
Reluctant at first to even have a friend, Shrek finds companionship with the lovable but very annoying Donkey and together they attempt to save Princess Fiona from the clutches of a diva like, song-belting Pink dragon.
Shrek the Musical is a spectacle show and relies heavily on costumes, effects and props. However designer Tim Hatley has crafted something utterly breath-taking, breathing life into a fully believable, Fire Breathing Dragon, who not only sings and flies but seems to have been brought straight to life from the film.
This production showcases a talented cast, from the ensemble all the way to the leads. Steffan Harri stars as the title character, with Call the Midwife regular Laura Main as Fiona, the feisty princess, and Marcus Ayton as Donkey. But for me, the show was made by Samuel Holmes playing Lord Farquat, He doesn’t just steal the show, he owns it as well.
There’s plenty here to entertain families and, in fact, children of all ages. There is enough adult humour to keep grown-ups amused and the kids in the audience particularly enjoyed the burping and farting competition between Fiona and Shrek. It’s a fun show, but for me it took up untill the end of the first half for the show to really pick up its pace. The rest of the show was still entertaining but the expectation of something really special coming at the end never materialised for me and I found the songs pleasant and hummable but not very memorable.
But when all is said and done, the kids loved it and for me anything that brings new faces to a theatre is a must.
And they all lived HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
Reviewed by Neil McFarlane