3 December 2014 to 11 January 2015
Reviewed by Debbie Tasker
We love the hit Shrek films from Dreamworks in our family so we were excited to be invited to this big budget Christmas extravaganza at the Palace Theatre in Manchester last night. Everybody wanted to attend (and I mean everybody from 4 – 65) so we drew straws and my grandson Kian aged 10 was the winner! Manchester was very busy as you would expect this time of year but we found parking just off the road opposite and made our way to the theatre. The atmosphere in the foyer was that of excitement and added to the feel of the evening. All the staff were friendly and very helpful that I came into contact with and pointed us in the right direction for our seats. We were in the stalls on row G and had a brilliant view of the stage.
The stage show follows the film version more or less and tells the story of the Shrek the lovable ogre who falls in love with the beautiful Princess Fiona who he rescues from a tower and takes to Lord Farquaad who she is to marry.
The company are magnificent throughout. Full of energy and enthusiasm they give it their all. For me Gerard Carey steals the show as Lord Farquaad, the rather camp, vertically challenged sleaze ball who wants Fiona’s hand in marriage. His comic timing is perfect and the role is full of humour with a dash of smut, by the audiences reaction to him the adults loved him as much as the kids! He plays the whole role on his knees and had me chuckling everytime he entered the stage. Faye Brooks as Fiona is also marvellous, she had a wonderful singing voice and was excellent in the part. I did feel the chemistry was lacking a little between her and Dean Chisnall’s Shrek though. Having said that Chisnall makes a great Shrek, on the whole and has the cartoon character off to a tee. Kian absolutely loved Donkey portrayed by Idriss Kargbo. He is cool and funky with a smooth soul voice and a lot of fun.
The special effects are spectacular. The dragon seemed to have her own personality and showed superb puppetry. Lighting and design makes the show even more captivating as do the Fairy Tale Folk who are all bright beautiful and easily recognisable.
We loved the show but I did find it a little drawn out in places. The music score isn’t great either in my opinion. But overall a marvellous evening’s entertainment for the whole family with a happy ending and the message it is ok to be different.
Tickets cost from £19.50 to £70 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Shrek the Musical is at the Palace Theatre in Manchester until 11 January 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3019.
Palace Theatre, 97 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 6FT | 0844 871 3019