Parentdish Review: Shrek The Musical!

Parentdish Review: Shrek The Musical!

Ten years since Shrek, Fiona and Donkey first burst on to the big screen, Shrek the Musical has finally hit the West End.

And boy was it worth waiting for.

The show follows the storyline of the first, and without question, the best of the Shrek films. Loveable, but anti-social ogre, Shrek, played by the brilliant Nigel Lindsay, is, a little ticked off to put it nicely, when Lord Farquaad decides to rid his land of every fairytale creature going, and dump them all in Shrek's smelly swamp. In a bid to get his home back, Shrek heads off to rescue Princess Fiona from her dragon guarded castle, so Lord Farquaad can marry her, and give him his swamp back.

Along the way, Shrek meets Donkey, a talk-a-minute character played by Richard Blackwood, who had the little people in the audience in stitches with his dance moves and expressions.

The star of the show for youngsters is undoubtedly the green man himself, who the audience, especially the under 10s, went mad for at every opportunity. Nigel Lindsay's strong Scottish accent held throughout the show, and his stage presence and strong vocals were a huge hit.

But there's no denying Lord Farquaad, played fabulously by Nigel Harman, was hugely popular too. The poor actor spends the entire show on his knees, sporting puppet legs as super-camp Lord Farquaad is a little on the short side, but he doesn't miss a trick with his timings and expressions, delighting every age.

All your favourites from the film are in there: Pinocchio, the three little pigs, fairy godmother and the glamorous dancing three blind mice, who strut their stuff in stockings and heels.

The scary fire-breathing dragon who shows her soft side when she bats her eyelids at Donkey comes alive thanks to a few stage hands who manoeuvre her around the stage effortlessly. She also has the starring role as the curtain prepares to fall when she flies in over the audience to huge applause and gasps of excitement.

Without meaning to sound too sexist, little boys will love the toilet humour throughout the show thanks to Shrek and Donkey (and Fiona at one point), and you'd be hard pushed to find a little lady who wouldn't like glamourous Princess Fiona, played by TV queen Amanda Holden.

For grown-ups it was actually worth the trip alone to find Amanda can dance, act AND sing (although she had a bit of a ropey American accent...), especially after all those years watching her pass judgement behind the Britain's Got Talent judging desk.

Not that there aren't other bits to keep the over 10s occupied. There were a fair few laughs thanks to a bit of adult humour - listen out for the roar when Lord Farquaad refers to his horse as Spearmint Rhino, or when he cheekily suggests Fiona call him Maximus while spreading his little legs apart and implying all sorts of naughtiness...

The stage set up is more storybook cut outs than anything too high-tech, but it didn't seem to matter to the army of Shrek fans cheering their way through the two hour performance.

A brilliant night out on its own, but if you want extra Brownie points from your little ones, there's loads of toys and games available to buy. A hit for many of audience were the cute green ogre ears, which we spied a fair few of.

Shrek the Musical is on at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane until February 19th 2012. Tickets start from £20 and the show is open to ages three plus.

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