Monday, 13 August 2018

Shrek the Musical Review - Bristol Hippodrome

Fiona, Donkey and Shrek in Shrek the Musical
I have seen Shrek the film so many times, I could not pass up an opportunity to see how it transfers to the stage. Shrek is one of those shows that appeals to children of all ages, as well as most adults, for many different reasons. The stage musical first wowed audiences in 2011 and this is the second UK tour to take to the road. In our Shrek the Musical Review, find out what myself and the 12 year old thought, as we joined a packed audience at the Bristol Hippodrome. Tickets were provided free for the purpose of reviewing the production. 

The first thing I noticed about the production was the colourful sets and costumes. It had a lot of instant appeal to a younger audience and was captivating from the start. The show goes into a lot more detail about the origins of Shrek and Princess Fiona, which adds a bit more depth to the story. It's always nice to have a bit of background to a familiar tale. 

Fairytale characters from Shrek the Musical dancing together on stage.

The audience was full, obviously, with children and I did wonder if they would manage to sit through quite a long production, but the seemingly endless supply of original songs and dance routines kept everyone glued to their seats for the duration. Samuel Holmes, who played Lord Farquaad, was absolutely hilarious as the vertically challenged would-be king. His dancing and general strutting around were expertly delivered, all while sporting a pair of tiny fake legs. The effect was very funny and everyone loved it. 

Lord Farquaad looking threateningly at Gingy the Gingerbread Man

It's hard to pick a favourite character, as they all had their own unique appeal but Donkey was definitely up there for the comedy element. What I loved about Marcus Ayton's performance, was that he wasn't trying to be Eddie Murphy from the film version. There were aspects of the movie character, bringing the much-loved mule to life, but with Marcus' own heart-warming take on Donkey's slightly complicated shy, yet somehow extrovert personality. 

Shrek the Musical's Dragon, hovering above a slightly scared looking Donkey

The 12 Year Old was most enamoured with the Dragon, which cut a pretty impressive figure, dominating the stage. In the style of War Horse, the Dragon was puppeteer-ed by actors dressed in black, but she was so expressive and striking, with her huge eyes and bright purple coat, it was easy to forget they were even there. For comedy gold, Dragon and Donkey's obvious chemistry could only be surpassed by Shrek and Fiona's epic fart battle. Ain't love grand? 

Shrek and Fiona looking determined whilst engaged in fart combat.

The finale was the part I was most looking forward to, nothing bits a rousing rendition of I'm a Believer, and it didn't disappoint. Seeing all the characters on stage singing along, with surprise acrobatics from Peter Pan, was a sight to behold and you could really see how much effort had gone into the costumes. The show had elements of panto, in its charm and and imperfect delivery, and, from my viewpoint, high up in the stalls, as far as the eye could see transfixed children were glued to every word. The show is quite long, particularly the first half, but no one seemed to mind and the fast-paced storyline and choreography actually makes it particularly good value for money! If frolicking, farts and flirtation are your thing, you can get your tickets for Shrek the Musical through the link 


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