Review: Shrek the Musical – A Kaleidoscope of Theatrical Brilliance
Written by Colin Dixon on 21st November 2023
“Shrek the Musical” unfolds as a mesmerizing tapestry, and at its core are the iconic characters of Shrek and Fiona, portrayed with a depth and brilliance that adds profound layers to the narrative.
Shrek, the unlikely hero of our story, is not just an ogre with a grumpy exterior but a character with a compelling journey. As the curtains rise, Shrek’s evolution from isolation to unexpected heroism becomes a captivating arc. Antony Lawrence’s portrayal captures not only the tough exterior but also the vulnerable soul within, creating a character that resonates with the audience. Shrek’s humour, delivered through both witty lines and subtle expressions, adds a unique charm to the production.
Opposite Shrek stands Princess Fiona (Joanne Clifton), a character that redefines traditional princess stereotypes. Her introduction shatters expectations as she proves to be more than a damsel in distress. Fiona emerges as a symbol of empowerment and independence, bringing a refreshing and contemporary dimension to her character. The chemistry between Shrek and Fiona becomes a highlight, with their interactions oscillating between humorous banter and heartfelt connection. Fiona’s journey from the tower to self-discovery is not just entertaining but empowering, showcasing the musical’s ability to reimagine and breathe new life into familiar fairy tale narratives.
As the narrative unfolds, the gingerbread man scene becomes a delightful showcase of humour, embodying the sharp wit embedded in the script. Lord Farquaad (James Gillan), played with glorious campiness, adds a comedic touch that reverberates throughout the production. And then there’s Donkey (Brandon Lee Sears), stepping into the iconic shoes left by Eddie Murphy, who delivers with a quirky, quick-witted charm that brings the character to life in a way that is both nostalgic and innovative.
A special mention must be made for the puppetry prowess behind the character of Dragon (Cherece Richards), whose voice resonates with power and soulfulness.
Yet, it’s not just about the characters’ interactions. The actors’ mastery extends beyond lines and songs, delving into movement, interaction, facial expressions, and body language—a captivating language that speaks directly to the audience. The blend of adult humour adds another layer, ensuring that the laughter echoing through the theatre is as diverse as the audience itself.
As the musical reaches its climax, the finale becomes a crescendo of visual and auditory splendour, showcasing not only the exceptional talents of the entire cast but also cementing the enduring impact of Shrek and Fiona’s journey on the audience’s memory. It’s a masterful conclusion, a fitting end to a journey that whisks us away to a world of laughter, charm, and theatrical enchantment.
In summary, “Shrek the Musical” is a celebration of meticulous attention to detail, dynamic performances, and a perfect blend of nostalgia and innovation. Shrek and Fiona, with their nuanced portrayals, stand not only as characters that honour their cinematic origins but as embodiments of a narrative elevated to new heights. As the curtain falls, the audience is left with a lingering sense of joy and appreciation for the magic that unfolds when two unlikely heroes take centre stage in a fantastical realm of live theatre.
If you would like to see this theatrical extravaganza for yourself tickets are available via www.wmc.org.uk/en/whats-on/2023/shrek and why not check out the official Shrek the Musical website, www.shrekuktour.com