Based on DreamWorks 2001 animated comedy that spawned 3 sequels and a spin-off, Shrek The Musical comes to the Mayflower Theatre until 26th July 2015.
Shrek (played by Dean Chisnall) is a grumpy green ogre who wants to take ownership of his swamp. However, the dastardly Lord Farquaad (Gerard Carey) won’t hand over the deeds unless he first rescues the enchanting Princess Fiona (Bronté Barbé) from a fire breathing dragon (Candace Furbert). With a wise-cracking Donkey (Idriss Kargbo) as a companion, they also encounter a variety of fairy tale characters along the way.
At times, you'd be mistaken for thinking you were watching Riverdance, as Shrek's arms seemed almost glued to his side. Whether down to direction (the show marks Nigel Harman’s directorial debut) or performance, the lead didn't quite have the stage presence as some of the supporting stars. Conversely, his sidekick Donkey is a little firecracker full of animated energy. He does his best to channel Eddie Murphy's performance, but in doing so, some of the dialogue becomes muddled in his heavily put-on accent.
The real star of the show is undoubtedly Lord Farquaad, whose short stature and even shorter temper make him hilarious throughout. Vocally, The best performance came from the equally brilliant Gingy (Nikki Bentley).
The lavish sets and colourful costumes really bring the storybook film to life. The musical also features almost entirely new songs, such as Story of my Life, This is How a Dream Comes True, Freak Flag and Big Bright Beautiful World. The crowd really came alive during the finale, primarily because ‘I’m A Believer’ was the only song that they knew.
Ultimately, Shrek the Musical is a mixed bag. There is definitely fun to be had, as long as you can look past the less polished aspects of an otherwise visually slick show. Though you’ll likely come away remembering it as Farquaad: The Musical instead.