ITS A GREAT HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT
Shrek the musical is not just for the kids. It’s sweet, sugary and innocent but subtly laced with some rather saucy innuendoes that make it an hilarious experience for grownups as well.
The musical stems from DreamWorks motion picture and the book by William Steig and is at Leeds Grand Theatre until 6th January.
It’s the story of Shrek the ogre and the feisty Princess Fiona both consigned by their parents to a life of solitude
The plot takes the usual fairy tale route with a twist. Shrek sets out to rescue the Princess imprisoned in a tower. Along the way he confronts a dragon, fairy tale characters who decide to squat in his swamp, a talking donkey and the diminutive and camp Lord Farquaad – the love child of snow white and grumpy and in t he end everything ends happily.
Shrek is a seamless production and moves at a fast moving pace with sets that are simple yet effective and give a wonderful fairy-tale effect.
A huge storybook in the opening scene takes us straight into the tale whilst a fire breathing enormous puppet dragon, Lord Farquaad’s silver charger, and tap dancing rats will certainly feed your imagination.
As Shrek Steffan Harri just falls short of finding the correct balance between comedy and pathos and at times is a little lethargic.
In complete contrast Marcus Ayton’s all singing, all dancing talking Donkey is full of energy, vigour and superb comedy timing, whilst Laura Main’s Princess Fiona is feisty, brash and fiery with great vocal power.
Playing a role on your knees must be sheer physical torment but that’s exactly what Samuel Holmes does as Lord Farquaad. Holmes has some great one liners and proves himself to be master of the inuendo.
Strek the musical couldn’t survive without its talented ensemble who double and treble and also act as puppeteers throughout the show and tackle some complicated but effective choreography
For the holiday season Shrek has a great feel good spirit and makes a great alternative to pantomime.
Liz Coggins is a member of the Critics Circle.