Following the award-winning success of DreamWorks Animation film, Shrek the Musical is bursting back on to stages around the UK. Currently taking residency at Norwich’s Theatre Royal until Sunday, July 8th Shrek will then continue touring the UK until December 2018. Telling the not so traditional fairy tale of how an unlikely hero, Shrek and his noble steed Donkey, embark on an adventure to rescue Princess Fiona for the vertically challenged Lord Farquaad.
Characters including Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Three Pigs and the Gingerbread Man make up the ensemble of #FairytaleFreaks add vibrancy and diversity to this “Big, Bright Beautiful” cast.
Leading the talented cast was Steffan Harri, back on this second tour as loveable ogre Shrek. He makes movement in the prosthetics and costume look effortless and pulls the audience along with his heart-warming story of true love.
Playing Shrek’s enthusiastic and chatty sidekick Donkey was Marcus Ayton, who brought sassiness to the stage and created a somewhat camp noble steed. I really liked Ayton’s characterisation.
Not being an X-Factor fan, I can honestly say I had no idea who Amelia Lily was, but she was brilliant as feisty Princess Fiona and her vocals were matching.
Although a villain of half-measures, Samuel Holmes was a massive hit as Lord Farquaad. His comedic prancing and strutting (on his knees!) were coupled with witty comments and a Brexit joke for good measure! Entertaining both adults and children.
Personally, I didn’t like the songs. They felt weak and lacking the emotion and feeling to help the story move along with any meaning. Other than Jennifer Tierney’s voice as the dragon, I failed to find a standout singing performance, although the finale to I’m A Believer closed the show on a high note.
This show did pull out all the stops when it came to visual impressiveness. The costumes and set were superb. Clever make-up and quality costumes combined with large puppetry brought the stage to life with colour and characters. There was an ambitious number of detailed sets and scene changes, but these were executed smoothly – first class performance by the crew here!
Literally bringing a storybook to life from the words “once upon a time” this show really does captivate audiences of all ages.
Shrek is running at Norwich Theatre Royal until 8th July and then goes on tour until 6 January 2019 – https://shrekthemusical.co.uk/
Book and lyrics – David Lindsay-Abaire
Music – Jeanine Tesori
Tour Director – Nigel Harman
Reviewer: Dawn Maidstone www.theatrethoughtsbydawn.wordpress.com