Reviewed: Shrek the Musical

Shrek is a classic childhood favourite of mine, having watched the film many times with friends and family, chuckling along at the wit and humour. Loving how it turned the rules of a fairytale on it’s head. Since it appeared as a theatre production I have been intrigued to see how it would translate on to stage, so naturally I couldn’t resist an invite to witness this production for myself.

Even if you think you know the film well, the stage show is a completely new experience. The underlying story of course remains the same but with the added razzle-dazzle of a stage production in the form of new songs and larger than life dance numbers it is like watching the story with fresh eyes.

In case you are in need of a little re-cap; Shrek and his trusty sidekick Donkey set out on a quest to defeat the fearsome dragon and rescue the beautiful Princess Fiona. We follow them on a journey of self-discovery and watch on as unlikely friendships and connections are formed and ultimately, in true fairytale style, good conquers evil!

If toilet humour is not for you then perhaps give this show a wide birth, but for everyone else who can’t help but giggle at a fart joke then I encourage you to surrender yourself to an evening of light hearted fun. The whole family will enjoy this hilarious yet heartwarming tale, which is evident in the sniggers you hear escaping from kids and the young at heart in the audience, filling the theatre and myself with a real sense of joy.

Anthony Lawrence’s transformation into Shrek was outstanding, he threw himself whole-heartedly into the role creating the loveable character we all know so well. He gave us a well-rounded version of Shrek showcasing every element of his personality from the crude jokes to the underlying caring and even romantic side.

Multi-talented Joanne Clifton gave a sassy performance as Princess Fiona, oozing with personality. I have seen her many times on Strictly Come Dancing so took much enjoyment in seeing her dance live on stage in front of me as she showcased her skills, then found myself amazed by her voice as she belted out songs drawing us into the story.

The on-stage chemistry Joanne shared with Anthony gave real depth to the performance, they seemed to really vibe off of each other solidifying the belief in the couple, willing them to realise their growing connection throughout the show and have their fairytale happy ending.

Brandon Lee Sears fully embodies the character of the donkey, acting from head to toe with every inch of his body, he uses quirky moves and unique gestures to convey personality traits which really encapsulated the role. With his delivery of countless laugh out loud moments along with epic vocals he truly was a stand out talent within the show.

James Gillan’s flamboyant performance of Lord Farquaad gives us the character we all love to hate that every fairytale needs. He commanded the stage in his quest for power with his eccentric mannerisms and colourful song and dance numbers.

The powerful voice of Cherece Richards who brought to life the role of the dragon stunned the audience as she captivated us with a tale of her longing for love. They took on a really interesting way to introduce the dragon to the story, which I won’t spoil for you, but it just furthers the appreciation for how much attention was put into every element of this production.

The talented ensemble dazzled us with high energy song and dance numbers showing us that there is no small part. They executed complex dance routines effortlessly weaving amongst each, taking on multiple roles with ease to help tell the story.

There is a such a fun atmosphere to this production and the energy level was infectious, the cast looked like they were having such a good time and seemed to take so much pleasure it what they do. The set design needs a special mention, it is beautifully created with many elaborate moving parts, they effortlessly switched the scenery helping guide you along your fairytale journey. The costumes were bold and beautiful bringing the stage to life with swirls of colour.

Let yourself go and relish in the light and easy humour of Shrek the Musical which you can watch at the Mayflower Theatre until the 25th February, you will find yourself rewarded by a feel good production full of fun and laughter.

Words by Vicky Anscombe

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