Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Irish Independent Shrek Review

Faye was back on English soil yesterday using her day off to catch up with family and friends to watch Gareth performing in the Big Reunion Tour at the Manchester Arena.

However, with the Shrek tour about to start it's second week of three at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, she'll be returning to Dublin tonight and I thought it was about time for another review.

This one was written by John McKeown for the Irish Independent:

Review: Shrek The Musical at Bord Gais Energy Theatre

Many people, particularly parents, have doubtless suffered from Shrek fatigue over the last few years, and now, here comes the song and dance version. The good news is this Dreamworks produced musical of the Dreamworks film is no safe retread, but a brilliantly effective reimagining of the story in musical theatre format.
David Lindsay-Abaire's book and lyrics, aiming at adults as much, if not more, than children, whips the story of Shrek the Ogre's (Dean Chisnall) quest to free the Princess Fiona (Faye Brookes) from the dragon on behalf of the loathsome Lord Farquaad (Gerard Carey) along at an agreeable pace. The dialogue is often as witty as the lyrics and the songs grow organically out of the conversation before soaring off in surprising directions.  

The donkey's (Idriss Kargbo) insistence to the unconfident Shrek that it's time to tell the rescued Princess how he feels turns into 'Make A Move,' involving the sparklingly outfitted Three Blind Mice, complete with canes. Shrek and the Princess' comparing of their hard-luck stories turns into a contest of miseries in 'I Think I Got You Beat,' a duet performed to a heavy bluesy rhythm.  

Act Two opens with the Princess singing what is an initially simple rustic number about the joys of the morning but which transmogrifies into a truly wonderful dazzling tap-dancing number with rats on the run from the Pied Piper in top-hats and tails.

No two numbers are the same or even similar, and in director Nigel Harman's production, the performance of each seems determined to outdo the one before until we feel swept up in an ever-ascending curve of excitement. Though perhaps less a curve than a wave, without any troughs.

We'd be forgiven for thinking the show has peaked early on with an amazingly mad performance from Carey as the Lord Farquaad and his minions celebrating his imminent self-promotion to kingship in 'Welcome to Duloc.' Carey is screamingly funny, on his knees throughout the show, throwing a pair of short skinny legs around, posturing, preening, and pantomime-dameing for all he's worth.

Tim Hatley's set, costuming, and puppet design, in concert with Hugh Vanstone's highly animated lighting, creates lush, stylish, fairy-tale explosive effects. While Dave Rose's orchestra enjoys a vibrantly symbiotic relationship with Josh Prince's inspired choreographics.

Shrek the movie seems flat after this relentlessly entertaining musical.

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