Shrek the Musical review


Shrek the Musical. The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham.


The 2001 Dreamworks animation was a huge hit and this musical adaptation which opened on Broadway in 2008 has also been a huge hit. This is the latest UK tour.

For those not familiar with the story, it follows an ogre called Shrek who lives alone in a swamp. However, his solitude is interrupted when one day a host of famous fairytale characters turn up saying they have been banished from the Kingdom of Duloc (which is ruled by the mean-spirited Lord Farquaad) for being “freaks”. Shrek heads off to Duloc to ask for his swamp back. Along the way he comes across a donkey who he reluctangly allows to join him on his quest. Once he arrives Lord Farquaad agress to his request on the condition that he rescues the imprisioned Princess Fiona and bring her back to him so he can marry her.

This is basically a wonderful storybook come to life. There is so much to see, it’s a visual treat. The costumes, the characters, the set, and stunning projection all transport you into this fairytale world. So much creativity has gone into transferring an ambition onto the stage.

Antony Lawrence takes on the lead role of Shrek. Fantastic prosthetics transform him into the famous green ogre, but it is his charactisation of the gentle giant that makes it believable. Joanne Clifton (Strictly) plays Princess Fiona. We already know that she’s a fantastic dancer but here we find out out she’s also a fantastic singer, comedic actress, and all-round musical theatre performer. She really is great in this. Playing Donkey is the ridiculously talented Brandon Lee Shears (“Dreamgirls”). His characterisation and physicality as the crazy sidekick is just wonderful. His singing voice is fantastic . A special mention must go to Cherece Richards who plays the dragon. Her voice is just incredible and the duet between her and Sears is one of the highlights of the show.

Playing Lord Farquaad is James Gillan who provides us with a deliciously camp villain. He’s so much fun it’s almost hard to hate him!

The whole show is pure magic. The kids in the audience loved it but we all felt like kids watching this. 


5 stars. A fairytale spectacular.


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