By: Suzanne Cleave, TRP Reviewer
Shrek the Musical is a breath of fresh air in the world of fairy tales – a big ogre with a heart of gold and a feisty princess who has a mind of her own! This production has been on our must-see list for a while, and it does not disappoint.
It was over 20 years ago that the first Shrek film by Dreamworks hit the big screen, and the story of the loveable green ogre is still charming audiences young and old today.
Young Shrek, aged only seven-years-old, is thrown out of the family home to make his own way in life. Over time, he makes his home in a swamp and has the worst personal hygiene, but he’s as happy as, well, an ogre in a swamp!
But his peace and quiet is soon shattered, when his swamp is invaded by a group of fairy tale characters, who have been banished from the kingdom of Duloc by the evil Lord Farquaad.
In exchange for getting his swamp back, Shrek agrees to rescue Princess Fiona from the tower and deliver her to Lord Farquaad so he can marry her and become king.
He sets off on his quest, with a charismatic talking donkey, called Donkey. He helps and hinders Shrek in equal amounts, but their friendship is heartwarming.
When he reaches the tower and sets Princess Fiona free, the pair find that they have a lot more in common than they thought – both abandoned when they were younger and both looking for someone to love. But can they overcome the obstacles that get in their way?
The role of Shrek is a big one to take on and Antony Lawrence has it down to a tee. He gives heart to the loveable ogre, never once dropping the Scottish accent and keeping the audience’s attention when he’s on stage.
Joanne Clifton, who many know from Strictly Come Dancing, is brilliant as Princess Fiona, and James Gillan gives a hilarious performance as Lord Farquaad, although he’s not so much the show’s evil counterpart, more of a pantomime villain!
The star of the show is Donkey, played by Brandon Lee Sears. He’s just hilarious and provides a lot of the comedy moments. And boy can he sing!
Special note must be given to the large ensemble who all contributed to the show, and brought some colour to proceedings with the fantastic costumes. Stand out performances came from Mark D’Arcy as Pinocchio; Cherece Richards who took on the roles of the Dragon and the Wicked Witch, and Georgie Buckland as Gingy.
There are plenty of catchy tunes, including Big Bright Beautiful World and Morning Person, and a rousing rendition of the Monkees’ classic I’m a Believer, which had everyone singing and clapping along.
Shrek the Musical is a rip-roaring explosion of colour, fun and laughter for all ages. After all, who doesn’t love a fairy story?!