REVIEW: Shrek the Musical

May 9, 2011

by guest blogger Emma West

Do you know the Muffin Man? He lives on Drury Lane. As does the brand new musical version of Shrek, previewing at the Theatre Royal since last Friday. It follows the story familiar to any Dreamworks movie fan: a large green ogre named Shrek (Nigel Lindsay) lives in a swamp that is invaded by homeless fairytale characters evicted from their homes by evil Lord Farquaad (Nigel Harman). In order to remove them from his home, Shrek is challenged by Lord Farquaad to bring him Princess Fiona (Amanda Holden). Of course the story would not be complete without many clever jokes, Donkey (Richard Blackwood) and a host of other characters including the Gingerbread Man, Pinocchio, and Dragon.

The overwhelming feeling after seeing this version of the musical is that it isn’t quite there yet, but has all of the ingredients for a massive hit. The music is beautiful and tells a much deeper story than the original movie. The set, sound and lighting effects are fantastic and the chorus was brilliant, with bundles of energy and comic timing. A lot of effort has gone into this show looking spectacular, the costumes and choreography work well together.

A special mention must be given to the Dragon, voiced well but created amazingly by the people who brought ‘War Horse’ to the stage. She is a wonder to be seen and is mesmerising. Harman’s Lord Farquaad is an outstanding performance (especially as he spends the duration on his knees). He really steals the show, and his dancing, singing and acting were near faultless.

Unfortunately, he stands out all the more due to the lack of energy from the rest of the principle cast. Blackwood does justice to the character of Donkey, synonymous with Eddie Murphy; he acts it well but he seems lacking in confidence in his musical numbers. Lindsay and Holden are missing something more. At times the acting loses pace, the musical numbers are spoken more than sung and those that are sung have the more than occasional bum note.

With all due respect to Holden, who is loved by many for her role on Britain’s Got Talent, she is possibly miscast here. she has worked very hard and it shows, but I would have preferred to see an unknown with a far superior voice rather than a celebrity who is trading on her name to pull in an audience. As for Lindsay, he gave a good performance, but Mike Meyers made this character funny and sadly nothing new was brought to the stage. His clear discomfort  in the fat suit was also unfortunate.

Overall, I would highly recommend Shrek to all, especially those who love the movie. There are some cracking jokes and you are left on a high, singing “I’m a Believer” on your way out of the theatre. I would suggest waiting a few months for all of the teething problems to disappear, or even for a cast change. Enjoyable enough, but with the potential to be much better in a few months’ time.


One Response to “REVIEW: Shrek the Musical

  1. I Went to see it 2 months really loved it, Amanda left last month I think so Its good that I could see her before;) x

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