There is something about Shrek that captures the hearts of almost anyone who watches the film and I remember the DVD’s being watched constantly on repeat when my older ones were little.
Now, there is a new bunch of fans in our household, who not only love the film but also love Shrek’s Adventure in London, so when I heard that Shrek the Musical was heading back out on tour and coming to the Mayflower in Southampton I just had to get tickets.
SHREK THE MUSICAL® is based on the story and characters from William Steig’s book Shrek! and the Oscar®-winning DreamWorks Animations feature film and starts with the characters cleverly popping their heads out of a storybook to tell their back stories.
From then on, the stage was a riot of colour, characters and the odd bit of flatulence, for good measure!
The story follows that of the film, with the fairytale characters banished from the city of Duloc and forced to live in Shrek’s swamp by order of Lord Farquaad. Shrek of course, is a bit of a loner and is none to happy about it, so sets out to challenge Lord Farquaad and agrees to go and rescue Princess Fiona so that the little Lord can marry her and become King.
The fairytale characters sounded just like they do in the film, but the biggest laugh had to be for Lord Farquaad (Samuel Holmes) who spent the whole show acting on his knees, with his little legs seeming to have a mind of their own.
Shrek, played brilliantly by Steffan Harri, is matched perfectly by Call the Midwife star Laura Main who plays Princess Fiona. Eliza especially loved her and her fairytale puppets but it was the brilliant burping and farting competition with Shrek as they bonded that brought shrieks of laughter from my three!
Marcus Ayton as Shrek’s funny, wisecracking sidekick ‘Donkey’ brings the fun (and the hooves) to the stage and we loved his romance with the massive puppet dragon, with huge yellow eyes and fluttering eyelashes.
Princess Fiona’s transformation from human to ogre and back again was very cleverly done and we loved her tap dancing routine as she taught the Pied Piper a thing or two about how to get the rats to follow him.
The show is certainly full of fun, with up-to-date jokes (a mighty steed called Brexit) and plenty of double entrende to keep the adults happy and Isaac and Eliza both sat transfixed throughout. Sebby (5), lost interest several times and I can only put it down to the lack of the familiar soundtrack that we all know and love.
The show ended with ‘I’m a Believer’ from the Monkey’s, which had everyone dancing in their seats, but that was the only song that made it across from the film to the musical.
All in all, it is a great musical and transfers well from screen to stage, but if you expecting a live version of the film, this isn’t it.
Shrek the Musical is at the Mayflower Theatre until Saturday 8 December 2018 – find out more at www.mayflower.org.uk and then moves to Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 18 December 2018 – Sunday 6 January.