REVIEW: SHREK (New Wimbledon Theatre)

Musicals based on films are a dime a dozen these days, but Shrek the Musical proves itself to be a great night out for all the family. After being impressed with the West end production, I had feared that a scaled down touring production may be less impressive, but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything from this production directed by original cast member, Nigel Harman.

Jeanine Tesori’s music is catchy enough, with some witty lyrics thrown in from David Lindsay- Abaire. The choreography is simple yet effective, and performed by a very strong ensemble. The fairy tale creatures are a joy to watch on stage and bounced off of each other perfectly.

The cast is wonderfully led by Dean Chisnall (no stranger to the role) who gives a stunning vocal performance, a particular highlight being ‘Who I’d Be’. As well as Chisnall, outstanding vocal performances were delivered from Christina Modestou (Mama Bear) and Candace Furbert (Dragon).

The movie Shrek has some truly iconic comic moments that an audience will want to see recreated on stage. Some of these included the charming back and fourth’s between Shrek and Donkey, which I must say felt a little rushed through at times, meaning some of the punch lines didn’t hit as well. Some of the voices and accents also felt inconsistent and didn’t sit quite right with me (quite possibly because I am far too familiar with the movie and original London show!).

The performance that truly stole the show for me was Gerard Carey’s hilarious Lord Farquaad. With a role like Farquaad, you are given so much comic potential to work with, and Carey didn’t miss a single trick. You could really see Harman’s love for the character in his directing of Carey shining through. Whilst Shrek is a wonderful family show, I must say I enjoyed a few of the dirtier gags thrown in just for the grown ups!

This production is certainly one that doesn’t take itself too seriously, poking fun at itself, as well as other West End shows (which is hilarious if you know the shows in question!). Shrek is not a ground breaking piece of musical theatre, it doesn’t challenge an audience, but if you take it for what it is (a great family night out) it is impossible not to enjoy yourself!

Reviewed by Laura Cooper
Photo: Helen Maybanks

Shrek is playing at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 31 January 2016 when it will then move to its final venue on the tour in Salford