Sunday, 18 November 2012

Shrek: The Musical Review

Shrek is one of the most successful animated franchises to come out of the last decade, and so of course the logical next step was to turn it into a musical, right? The result is a fun show that manages to be more enjoyable than the last two movies, but still not something that you have to rush out and see. 

One thing that is disappointing about Shrek: The Musical is that essentially its a retelling of the first movie. Now there are some things that give it originality such as the songs themselves which were all written for the show, and some completely original scenes which give an extra insight into the main characters, particularly Lord Farquaad and Shrek himself. But this doesn't change the fact that - assuming you've seen the first Shrek film (which you probably have if your thinking of going to the musical) - you know exactly how everything's going to have gone when the curtain drops.

But let's not be too negative. As I said before there are things that give this show originality, most obvious of which is the fact that it's a musical! The songs vary from OK to great but they're all easy to listen to, with some catchier than others and most filled with funny moments as well. And it's worth saying that, like the early films, there are jokes in this musical for both adults and children which was a relief. The writers knew that adults would be coming to the show with their children and so catered for them too which was a smart move. But then again, moving back to my first point there are some chunks of script that are quite literally lifted straight out of the first movie, which I wasn't expecting to see.

But overall, this doesn't stop the show from being entertaining. The cast were enthusiastic and full of singing talent, and I suppose if your going to recycle a plot it may as well be from one of the most-loved animated films of the last few years! It just seemed like a missed opportunity to tell a truly original tale in the Shrek universe.

Now, I didn't want to talk about the cast too much in this review as in a stage show roles can often switch or be filled in by other talent, but I feel I should say something as the lead cast of Shrek: The Musical really did give great performances. As I said before, the cast were all very enthusiastic putting all their effort into giving the best performances possible. All four of the main cast (Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Farquaad) sang well and had a great chemistry with each other on stage. I felt that some of the supporting roles didn't hold up quite as well, with both Pinocchio and the Gingerbread Man not singing so much as squeaking their words out -- I know this is a trait for their characters but it still affected how good or even understandable their performances could be.

One member of the cast who really should be applauded though is a certain loveable dragon, portrayed with a magnificent puppet on stage that is handled brilliantly. Yes, you can see the men/women in black skin tight suits pulling the dragon around, but somehow the puppet was still very believable. It really is one of the big triumphs Shrek: The Musical has in bringing the magic of the movies to the stage.


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