Saturday, 11 April 2015

County Woman Shrek Review

Faye recently commmented on how well received Shrek has been in Birmingham and the online reviews are unanimous in their praise for the show and it's special Princess.

I'm going to move swiftly on to the next review because I have at least 4 more I'd like to feature before the swamp heads back to Scotland at the end of the month.

This one was written by Clare White for the website 'County Woman':

Shrek the Musical at Birmingham Hippodrome

Hit musical Shrek entertained an audience of all ages at Birmingham Hippodrome.

Based on the 2001 award-winning DreamWorks animated film, it tells the story of a reclusive green ogre and his loyal donkey sidekick, who are sent by a cowardly lord to rescue the beautiful Princess Fiona from a dragon-guarded tower.

I had wondered how well the hugely popular film would translate into a stage musical, but really needn’t have worried, as Shrek is an absolute triumph – energetic, fresh and so, so funny.

Under the direction of ex Eastenders actor Nigel Harman (who played Lord Farquaad in the West End production) the characters are bought to life by a talented ensemble cast, witty lyrics to an upbeat score, brilliant make up and costumes and some clever staging trickery.

It’s hard to pick out just one highlight – there were jazzy musical numbers, a 30ft soul diva dragon, tap dancing rats and a gang of fairytale misfits including an irate Gingerbread Man. Lord Farquaad’s mincing had the audience in stitches, as did a flatulence competition between Shrek and Princess Fiona.

The stage production delves a little deeper into the back stories of the characters than the film does, helping the audience see a different side to Shrek, Princess Fiona and Lord Farquaad, and at the heart of all the fart jokes and fairytale fun is a poignant message – that it is okay to different.

Dean Chisnall is the perfect Shrek – larger than life in voice and stature, effortlessly capturing the grumpy ogre’s aggression and softer, vulnerable side, while 19 year old Idriss Kargbo is fabulously vibrant as his playful sidekick and more than a match for Eddie Murphy’s portrayal of Donkey.

Princess Fiona isn’t your average one dimensional fairytale princess – she’s feisty, temperamental and a little crazed after being locked in a tower for 20 years, and Faye Brookes played her with great comedic sass. She has a stunning voice and I particularly loved her performance of ‘I Know It’s Today’; a cleverly choreographed piece for which she was joined by an infant and teenage Fiona.

For me, the star of the show is Gerard Carey as vertically challenged tyrant Lord Farquaad. Sporting hilarious prosthetic legs, he spends most of the show scuttling around on his knees, hamming up the more adult gags and stealing every scene.

I really can’t ogre-emphasize how brilliant Shrek is. Feel-good, engaging fun for the whole family, please go and see it!

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