Monday, 5 January 2015

Manchester Theatre Awards Review!

Faye will be returning to the Royal Exchange Theatre this evening where this time last year she was performing in Victoria Woods wonderful play 'That Day We Sang'.

This time however she will be in the audience supporting her friend Kelly Price who is playing Audrey in 'The Little Shop of Horrors'.

Sounds like a fantastic night out to me. Manchester has certainly been the place to be for the best shows this Christmas.

With the Shrek Tour about to start its final week of six at the Palace Theatre I thought we should feature another of the many glowing reviews the show has received since in landed in Manchester.

This one was written by Paul Genty for the Manchester Theatre Awards website:

Shrek the Musical

Reproducing the humour and animated effects of the original Shrek movie might seem a tall order but this terrifically entertaining musical manages to do so by extending the film's knowing sense of humour and adding its own live dose of energy and sassiness.

As a result the story takes on a new and vibrant life in some areas and compromises in others - but comes out well on the positive side.

Boosted well beyond his cinematic charactefr, for example, is the comedy highlight of the show - no, not Donkey but Lord Farquaad, blessed with a wonderfully condescending performance by Gerard Carey and doubly blessed by the fact that he spends the entire evening walking on his (hidden) knees, with bendy short legs standing in for his own. The result is simply hilarious and silly, one of many silly sights both new and borrowed.

There's Shrek and Fiona's bonding farting contest, for example, which I don't recall from the movie, but then there's Pinocchio's expanding nose and the much put-upon gingerbread man, which I do. There's a brilliant compromise puppet dragon too, whose affair with Donkey (Idriss Kargbo) is glossed over a bit but which doesn't detract from its imposing presence.

And at the heart of the show are Shrek and Fiona (Dean Chisnall and Faye Brookes), he much annoyed by the invasion of his swamp by (beautifully done) fairytale characters, she much bossier and funnier than in the film - partly thanks to a strong script and mostly thanks to Brookes' terrifically understated delivery.

The songs? Well, you won't go out humming them (though perhaps a recreation of the film's final rendition of I'm a Believer might do the trick), but they have sharp lyrics and don't generally outstay their welcome.

The disappointment of the night must be Donkey: no slight to the actor playing him, but Eddie Murphy's brilliant dialogue would have been hard for anyone to beat, and here it isn't. 

Overall though this is a wonderfully silly and enjoyable night out: strongly recommended if you aren't a panto devotee.

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