The TheatreguideLondon Review
Shrek - The MusicalBased on the very popular animated film
about the ogre and the princess, this Broadway musical has a pretty
much guaranteed family audience. And they will not be disappointed –
Shrek The Musical is an enjoyable, accessible evening.
Drury Lane Theatre 2011 - 2013
On the other
hand, it is not likely that they will carry away memories to last a
lifetime – Shrek The Musical is a solid, polished but not
especially imaginative or exciting translation from film to stage.
The musical's creators – writer-lyricist David Lindsay-Abaire,
composer Jeanine Tesori, directors Jason Moore and Rob Ashford,
designer Tim Hatley – have taken what might be called the Beauty
And The Beast route, of duplicating the look and feel of the film as
closely as possible, as opposed to the Lion King route of
re-imagining it for the stage.
Except, perhaps, for the fact that the
Donkey is clearly a man in a donkey suit and the diminutive Farquaad
is obviously a man on his knees, there is no need for any audience
members familiar with the film to stretch their imagination or be
surprised by what they see.
The generally low-tech set made mainly of
cartoon cutouts has the feel of a high-budget Panto and might even
disappoint those anticipating spectacular effects or theatrical magic
– with one notable exception.
The amorous dragon makes two
appearances, the first delightfully magical in a purely theatrical
way, and the second as spectacular as anyone could ask for.
writers, Lindsay-Abaire and Tesori have for the most part chosen to
shoehorn their songs into the action rather than integrate them by
replacing dialogue, so the story occasionally stops dead for the
almost randomly-placed insertion of a song or dance.
themselves are not memorable, though their concept or staging
sometimes is. 'I Think I Got You Beat' is a one-upsmanship contest
between Shrek and Princess Fiona that delights the kids by developing
into a belching and farting competition, and for no discernible
reason (except that it's fun) Fiona has a song-and-dance routine with
some rats that builds from a clever visual joke to a grand Hollywood
production number. (On the other hand, the songs for Farquaad and for
the dispossessed fairy tale characters are particularly poor.)
Lindsay invests Shrek with as much personality as a man in a green
prosthetic head and fat suit can, though he has to fight through so
much distancing that you might sometimes wonder if, like Darth Vader,
the body and the voice were two separate people.
Amanda Holden nicely
captures the mix of romance and no-nonsense feminism in Fiona and, as
undoubtedly the best singer and dancer onstage, injects some welcome
Richard Blackwood channels Eddie Murphy as the
Donkey, and Nigel Harmon appropriately mugs his way through Farquaad.
Everyone else doubles and quadruples roles, with Landi Oshinowo
standing out for the Motown-flavoured sound and attitude she gives
the voice of the dragon.
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Review - Shrek - Drury Lane 2011