The charming tale of everybody’s favourite ogre has been taken from screen to stage to create the spectacular Shrek The Musical.
The musical truly brings the story to life as it delves deeper into the storyline to produce a much more developed version of the film. It takes you back in time to Shrek and Fiona’s childhood, the characters appear inside a giant storybook as the adorable young Shrek and Fiona are sent away by their parents at the age of seven. Shrek is told to “go away” and live in the swamp which he later calls home and Fiona is banished to a tower guarded by a fearsome dragon until a prince comes to rescue her.
Set and costume designer Tim Hatley has done a phenomenal job bringing the vibrancy to the show through the enormous set and intricately designed costumes. Whether it’s the towering castle, the huge menacing dragon or Shrek’s swamp, the scenes swiftly change in seconds capturing the magic of the show.
Taking on the lead role, Steffan Harri has charm and charisma as the loveable Shrek. Despite his attempts to scare people away, his warmth is undeniable as he falls in love with the rescued princess Fiona. His vocals are bursting with power in his moving musical numbers, in particular, his touching solo number Who I’d Be.
Laura Main, best known for her role on Call The Midwife plays the feisty princess Fiona. She boasts superb characterisation as she steps into the shoes of the bold princess who is oozing with confidence. I enjoyed her take on the role, although it wasn’t my favourite, and I feel she just needs a little more time to settle into the character in order to give it more oomph.
The flamboyant role of Donkey is played by Marcus Ayton. He has moulded the character in his own original way and he masters the dynamic energy of the role exquisitely. Samuel Holmes plays the challenging role of the pint-sized Lord Farquard. Performing on his knees throughout the entirety of the show, his characterisation and comedy timing has the audience howling with laughter.
The ensemble are strong and their performance is commanding as choreographer Josh Prince creates a visual masterpiece on stage. Having seen the show multiple times before, I was surprised to see that had changed certain moments, although some works, I was disappointed by I Know It’s Today and I think we need to bring back the two young Fiona’s for that exceptional three-part harmony.
Shrek is a vibrant and colourful musical that has immense energy in the animated musical numbers. The humour from the film is amplified in this excellent adaptation, giving the production pace, which is enhanced by the expressive set and costume.
Shrek the Musical is on at the Palace Theatre in Manchester until the 28th of January, tickets can be found here.