Shrek the Musical: Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
Reviewed 17th July 2018
Pure fun and laughter. This record-breaking UK and Ireland Tour, based upon the blockbuster DreamWorks film Shrek, is back and is set to turn the world of fairytales upside down in an all-singing, all-dancing musical comedy.
Most audience members will be all too familiar with the film whereby our unlikely hero, an ogre named Shrek, sets to rescue the Princess, Fiona, from a fire breathing dragon. Throw in hilarious characters such as Donkey, Lord Farquaad and the Ginger Bread Man and this show aims to be a hit for the whole family.
Unashamedly over the top, brash and loud this show is perfect for every member of the family. The story stays true to the film which will delight younger audience members and the production certainly keeps the adults entertained with comic on-liners and references to things like Love Island, Harry and Meghan and Brexit. The laughs are a-plenty throughout the show, with Lord Farquaad stealing the show on multiple occasions. There are certainly not many shows where you’ll see a grown man on his knees for a whole show! Samuel Holmes is absolutely hilarious as Lord Farquaad, the comedic villain of the story, and remains in character until the final curtain touches the floor.
All of the talented cast are brilliant playing the various roles in this creative show. The comic fairy-tale characters are instantly recognisable and are cleverly interwoven in the story. Steffan Harri’s Shrek is both awkward and clumsy whilst also being loveable and kind, Amelia Lily shows off her vocal range as Fiona and Marcus Ayton’s sassy Donkey is full of attitude! They certainly know how to let their freak flags fly in this big, bright, beautiful world.
Children and adults alike will revel in the magic created on stage through the clever use of costumes, projections and set pieces. The costumes, in particular, designed by Tim Hatley, are excellent and bring each character to life. The clever sets are both impressive in detail and in number as the audience are transported to different locations from the stinky swamp to Fiona’s tower. The visually impressive Dragon puppet, designed also by Tim Hatley, is stunning and adds yet another magical touch.
Despite the lack of familiar songs the score itself is clever and upbeat. There is a great variety in the style of the songs and yet they all have the same effect – to make the audience smile. The lyrics are both funny and meaningful which allows the audience to understand the characters as well as be entertained by them. Another treat for musical theatre fans are the frequent references to musicals such as Dreamgirls, Wicked and even Les Miserables.
This is a light-hearted, funny musical that is perfect for a family night out at the theatre. Brilliant escapism, full of laughs and a visual spectacle – what more could you want? Check out Shrek the Musical UK and Ireland Tour and prepare to be entertained in their big, bright, beautiful world!
Shrek the Musical UK and Ireland Tour is at Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury until 22nd July 2018. For tickets and information click here.
The tour continues until 6th January 2019. For information and tickets click here.
Photo Credit: Helen Maybanks