8-26 July 2015
Reviewed by Lynn McClean
Last night I went to see the opening night of Shrek the Musical at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre. Adapting a popular movie into an all singing and dancing musical is no easy task. But those behind Shrek the Musical have managed to turn the unconventional love story into a fun fairy-tale spectacular fit for all the family.
From the moment, loveable ogre Shrek took the stage, the audience was sucked into to a fantasy tale that enthrals children yet keeps the adults equally entertained with below-the-belt humour. If you have seen the movie, the plot is very similar with a few show-stopping tunes thrown in.
Shrek’s solitude life on a swamp is interrupted by fairy-tale characters who are exiled there by Lord Farquaad. In a quest to get peace and quiet back into his life, Shrek agrees to help Lord Farquaad rescue Princess Fiona from the tower guarded by a dragon. Lord Farquaad plans to marry Princess Fiona to become King but she has a secret and Shrek has fallen for her.
Donkey and a variety of fairy-tale characters, including the Gingerbread Man, boost the weird and wacky cast, and no doubt delight the young audience.
The musical version of Shrek works because the humour that made the film is very much part of the dialogue. Shrek the Musical might even be funnier with characters like Lord Farquaad playing the role camp and donkey pushing the boundary with quick one-liners. The movement of the two actors who played these roles was simply outstanding especially Lord Farquaad who was acting on his knees, to play the short ruler, for the entire show. The audience were in stitches as he pranced around the stage, danced enthusiastically and camped up his lines. He was the stand out star, even overshadowing donkey who was the highlight of the movie.
In the same way Shrek is a parody targeting other films adapted from numerous children’s fairy-tales, this show has hints of other big musical productions through its songs. I Know It Today featuring Princess Fiona at three ages was perhaps the best of the songs from the show while I Think I Got You Beat really hit the notes with humour.
Children will adore this show as it really is a magical experience and perhaps is the best introduction they could have to musical theatre while adults will simply gasp at the naughty jokes.
Finishing on I’m A Believer, Shrek the Musical restored my faith in how musical theatre can make a story magical all over again.
Once again the staff at the Mayflower gave a warm welcome to all their customers at this wonderful theatre that is well worth a visit.
Tickets cost from £21 to £52.50 (booking fees may apply).
Shrek the Musical is at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton until 26 July 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 02380 711811.
Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes including 1 interval. Times given are for guidance purposes only and can change. Recommended age: 5+, under 2s will not be admitted. Strobe lighting.
Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1GE | 02380 711811