Thursday, 11 September 2014

Nottingham Theatre Royal

Shrek is a musical with music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire. It is based on the 2001 film Shrek and William Steig's 1990 book Shrek!.

Imagine the best bits of all of the best pantos you've been to and that will come close to seeing Shrek. It is bright, colourful, fun and very camp...and I loved it.

The story begins with Shrek telling the audience of his childhood, and how, on his seventh birthday, his parents send him out of their house and into the world to make his living. They warn him that because of his looks, everyone will hate him, and he will not have a happy ending.After saving Princess Fiona from the dragon who had kept her locked in her tower, he delivers her to Lord Farquaad so that he can marry the Princess and become King of Duloc, just so that Shrek can get his marshy home back.On his way he meets many fairytale creatures and of course Donkey who becomes his best mate.

Shrek is an amazingly entertaining musical for just about everyone from 5 to 105, and as in all of the best family shows there is comedy that works on all levels, Most of the "over the heads of kids" lines were delivered by Lord Farquaad, played by Gerard Carey who surely must have one of the hardest jobs combining singing, dancing and acting but on his knees for the majority of the time. but boy is the effect well executed.

Our green hero, Shrek, is played by Dean Chisnall and I shudder to think how long Dean is in make up before the show, and under those lights I imagine there is a lot of sweat shed and pounds lost.

Faye Brooks is Princess Fiona and what a great stage persona she has, instantly likeable, the kind of Princess who doesn't mind having a laugh and a joke with the lads. Proving that she can be a token lad as well in the scene where she and Shrek vie to who has had the hardest time of it of late!!

And then there is Donkey. In the film voiced by Eddie Murphy, and here is camped and ramped up to 10 by Idriss Kargbo.

One of my favourite highlights of the show, and there are many, is the scene with the dragon. Brought to life at the hands of four puppeteers and done so well that you forget that they were there controlling it's every move, and you really believed that this dragon on stage, and it did fill the Theatre Royal stage, was alive.

Technically this could be the best thing I have seen with characters appearing and disappearing seemingly into thin air. Some amazing lighting effects and a very tight twelve piece orchestra, so good that I actually thought the music from the speakers was pre recorded but no way. All credit to the musical direction of Mr Dave Rose.

Music wise this show is almost back to back songs with twenty songs in two and a half hours.150 minutes that seemed more like 15.

The choreography was absolutely spot on. You can tell that this has come from the West End stage, I can't pinpoint it but there is just something about the whole Shrek package that oozes uber professionalism. Take your kids along, take your grandparents along or just go along yourself for an evening (or afternoon) of great fun.

Shrek is on at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 28 September 2014, Wednesday to Saturday

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