Friday, 5 December 2014

MEN - Shrek the Musical Review

The Shrek tour has had a fabulous first few days at the Palace Theatre and a spectacular press night on Wednesday with many stars in attendance.

One of those stars was Professor Callahan himself Mr Les Dennis. Hopefully on this occasion he managed to escape without another slap from Elle Woods.

I've already read countless glowing reviews and many, like the one below from the Manchester Evening News (MEN), single out Faye for special praise.

Shrek @ Manchester Palace Theatre

It's hard to imagine that it's been 10 years since Shrek first appeared on our screens.

Not only did it poke fun at traditional fairy tales, but it also reinvented family films by seamlessly blending adult and children's humour into one hilarious package.

And it is with great relief and a big smile on my face that I can say the same for Shrek The Musical, currently showing at the Palace Theatre.

We all know the story, a reclusive green ogre discovers true love after reluctantly agreeing to rescue Fiona, a sassy princess who has been trapped in a tower by a fire-breathing dragon.

But in the musical the story is more developed, showing how Princess Fiona, Shrek and even the evil Lord Farquaad started out in life, making the most of dance numbers and duets to develop the relationships of the characters.

The adventure transfers effortlessly to the stage, with big ensemble numbers including all the favourite fairytale characters and individual numbers giving the lead characters a turn in the spotlight.
Idriss Kargbo gives a slightly more effeminate twist to Donkey than the film version, and has his performance of 'Make a Move' down to a 'T'.

And Dean Chisnall and Faye Brookes as Shrek and Fiona have a great on stage rapport for their cheeky courtship song 'I think I got you beat'.

In fact Urmston actress Faye shines as Fiona, with breath-taking vocals and perfect comic timing she gives Dean a run for his money as the title character.

But the gong for the most laughs of the night should go to Gerard Carey, who spent the whole time on his knees as the diminutive Lord Farquaard with hilarious results. The work-out scene in particular was a favourite.

Clever puppetry and effective costumes and sets also helped recreate some of the charm of the original animation,  with the gigantic dragon with a voice to rival Tina Turner deserving a special mention.

Vocally there wasn't a weak link to be heard, from squeaky Pinocchio to the heavyweight vocals of Mamma Bear, every single performer managed to shine.

And although some of the songs seemed a little forgettable - apart from the rousing finale of I'm A Believer -  the troupe of talented singers brought the story to life.

It was a perfect mixture of music, dance and performance comedy, with a sprinkling of fresh gags and slightly risqué humour to keep adults on their toes.

Shrek the Musical is on at the Palace Theatre until January 11.

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