Reviewed by Jane Warwick
This musical is based on the story and characters from the Oscar®-winning DreamWorks Animation film.
Shrek, (Steffan Harri) and his loyal steed Donkey, (Marcus Ayton), set off on a quest to rescue the Princess Fiona (Laura Main) from her tower, which is guarded by a fire breathing love-sick dragon (Christina Modestou). To accompany them on their way are Lord Farquaad, (Samuel Holmes); numerous fairy tale characters and a gingerbread man. They rescue the Princess and Shrek and Fiona fall in love on their journey back to Lord Farquaad’s palace. However, Fiona has a secret which she has not told Shrek (though the Donkey finds out), but, in the end, once the secret is revealed the two sort themselves out and all live happily ever after.
The musical is a real family piece of entertainment with humour for both adults and children. You could not help but smile on hearing the raucous laughter of the young children in the audience who really enjoyed the outrageous farting and burping!
Fiona not only sang and acted well but her dancing was excellent in the “Strictly…” with the rats. Shrek looked the part and the donkey was excellently played and he was hilarious. Knowing that Lord Farquaad is vertically challenged from the Disney film, it was very amusing to see how they got this across to the audience and this was done in a novel way which also brought more humour to the musical.
The opening with the story book was very cleverly done. The fairy tale characters were exactly as in the film and I particularly liked the costumes of the three pigs (Adam Baker, Reece Kerridge, and Adam Taylor), with their suitcases as well as Pinocchio (Joseph Dockree) with his growing nose. It was good to see a variety of puppetry on stage and the movement of the dragon was performed very effectively by four puppeteers, (Will Hawksworth, Sam Stones, Adam Taylor and Kevin Yates).
The dancing was good, and it was amusing to see the initial rats’ dance before they then performed in “Strictly …”. To entertain both adults and children different animals were added into the scene as Shrek and Donkey travelled to find the Princess such as the cow jumping over the moon, giraffe (with music from “The Lion King”), and a bunny rabbit. It really was a cross between a musical and a panto with audience participation and at one stage I was expecting a screen to come down with words of the next chorus.
The scenery was impressive and as a result you were aware of how large and tall the stage is at this theatre. The music conducted by Colm O’Regan was good.
The Mayflower Theatre has recently reopened after its 16 week £7.5 million investment. The noticeable changes were the colour of the theatre red and gold in keeping with its 1920’s heritage and the seats in both the stalls and circle have been replaced and these are not only wider, but the sight lines have been improved which is great.
I would certainly recommend this musical to both adults, and families and the Mayflower is an excellent venue with really helpful and friendly staff.
Tickets cost from £29.50 to £52.50 (booking fees may apply).
Shrek the Musical is at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton from 27 November to 8 December 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.mayflower.org.uk or call the box office on 02380 711811.
Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1GE | 02380 711811