12-23 November 2014
Reviewed by Helen Jiggins
The problem with this performance is that it was such a mixed bag… parts of it were excellent! Gerard Carey, as Lord Farquaad, was inspired – the fact that he spent the entire performance playing the diminutive character on his knees was just hilarious before he even opened his mouth – and the dragon puppeteering was awesome, in the proper sense of the word. However, Dean Chisnall’s depiction of Shrek – he lacked depth, comedy or warmth and seemed to be constantly irritated and slightly bored – found me hoping Fiona chose Lord Farquaad, as he was much more amusing, animated and downright outrageous! Special mention, for mostly the wrong reasons, has to be given to Idress Kargbo as Donkey: His vocal performance, from his overly-affected voice, atrocious pseudo-American accent and complete lack of comic timing meant many “funny” lines went by unnoticed. However, his physical comedy, despite a rather dreary bulbous costume, was very clever indeed and it is a shame that was he was able to do with his body did not extend to his vocal output. Faye Brookes’ Fiona was good, although due to his Shrek’s lackluster performance, their romance didn’t ring true and this made her output all the poorer, given that, she had a lovely singing voice.
Oddly, the best lines and scenes were those that were written for the stage show, quotes from the animated movie simply didn’t work as well coming from the stage actors in this production. It has to be said that the stage set designs were very grand and worked very well in this production and the costumes were mostly fabulous. The musical numbers were well performed and were a good fit with the story.
Having said all of this, I have a feeling I might not have been the shows’ target audience. I took my 4 year old twins along, who both enjoyed the evening very much. I certainly heard about it all the way home on the train. My 21 year old, who I also corralled into use to help me corral the twins, was less impressed, especially as a fan of the original movies, although I did spot him smiling during Lord Farquards’ big number. Children will love this and adults will be amused in part.
Tickets cost from £10 to £45 (plus £4 transaction fee).
Shrek the Musical is at the New Theatre, Oxford until 23 November 2014. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3020.
New Theatre Oxford, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2AG | 0844 871 3020