We went to see Shrek The Musical on Thursday of this week. To be honest, if it wasn’t for arranging to meet some of the cast afterwards we might have delayed our second visit to the show a little bit longer, having seen it during previews.
That isn’t to say that we didn’t enjoy the show as both my partner and I sure did, and probably more than we had the first time.
So, for those that haven’t seen Shrek, here is an update on my first review.
Shrek has somewhat of a pantomime feel to it, in that it is fun and the audience are encouraged to participate in oohs and ahhs etc.
On with the show!
I do find it curious that when the house lights go dim before the start of the show, there is a cheer throughout the auditorium. This is probably due to the large number of children in the audience who are waiting with such eager anticipation for the show to start that they have to express it. They are not disappointed, as throughout the musical there is enthusiastic applause and frequent laughter.
This is a fun musical that pretty much follows the storyline of the film, but of course with added extras. If you like Shrek the film then you should enjoy this musical. Having said that, it can be a little annoying when children frequently chat with their parents about who the character is and what they are doing, and how it was done in the film. To be honest the sound level from the stage could be better, as whoever controls the sound levels doesn’t appear to take into account that there will be people nattering in the audience.
With regard to the humour in the musical there are jokes and one-liners on various levels for all ages, which caters for all.
What to make of the cast?
The cast made up of storybook characters are all brilliant and there are some very funny moments and some pretty impressive dance scenes. However, the voice of them all is undoubtedly Landi Oshinowo who sings magnificently as Lola the Dragon, and also plays the part of Humpty Dumpty.
What of the leading cast?
Amanda Holden is THE star audience attraction of the show, no question. There may be better singers and actors around but the celebrity status of Amanda draws the crowd in. Likewise at the end of the show there probably aren’t many theatres in London that will have a busier stage door, with a lot of fans waiting to see her.
This emphasises the power of television and the press in turning someone into celebrity status, which can outweigh years of stage craft into a ‘celebrity’ being the star of the show.
This shouldn’t detract from Amanda Holden’s performance as she performs extremely well and makes a commendable Princess Fiona.
Nigel Lindsay plays the part of Shrek the ogre. He plays the part well and is reasonably funny, and lots of ‘aaaawwwws’ from the audience prove that it’s not just the belching and farting that make him a favourite with most people in the theatre.
Nigel Harman to some extent has the pick of the main characters in that his role is funny in both appearance and in the humour. He performs brilliantly and to his credit the audience are enthused every time he is on the stage. I think Nigel has created a superb Lord Farquaad that most in the audience will remember for a long time.
Richard Blackwood takes on the role of Donkey and without question he has the hardest job of the main characters. He hasn’t got the celebrity status of Amanda Holden, and Donkey doesn’t have the comical costume to match that of Shrek or Lord Farquuad to enhance the humour. Richard performs as well as the role allows him to and he gave a strong performance, that with some assistance from the costume team could have been memorable.
To the credit of the main actors they all took time out at the stage door after the end of the show, to sign autographs and pose for photographs to please the waiting fans.
The bottom line is that the audience laugh and cheer from start to finish and they all go home happy and will probably tell their friends to go and see the show. Also, having bought a Shrek The Musical soundtrack CD with the Broadway cast, I can say that there are some memorable tunes on it.
Marks out of 10 for Shrek The Musical, probably a 7.
Theatre Royal Drury Lane
London, WC2B 5JF
2nd July 2011