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    Tags: Shrek_the_Musical, Liverpool_Empire_Theatre, Sarah_OHara

    Review: Shrek the Musical



    Since the lovable green ogre Shrek first burst onto our cinema screens, children and adults alike have enjoyed this tale of friendship and true love. Now the star of his very own musical, tonight’s show proved that even a decade later, Shrek and his pals are still as enduringly popular as ever.


    It can be no easy feat transferring a beloved film to the stage, but this visually impressive production sparkles with its witty lines, dazzling cast and jaw-dropping scenes. Cleverly playing to both the humour of children and adults – the scenes with Gerard Carey’s Lord Farquad proving particularly amusing – David Lindsay-Abaire’s script ties in well with the memorable film quotes. The addition of post-modern film references and terrific quips – note the brilliant name of Lord Farquad’s horse in the second half – steal the show, with a script that proves there is more to this ogre’s tale than what we know from the film.


    A larger than life ogre must be challenging to play, but Dean Chisnall showed no signs of being nervous as he walked onstage to rapturous applause. His charismatic energy was infectious, while his physicality and deep, bold voice captured the essence of the ogre we know so well. Yet it was his rendition of ‘Who I’d be’ that made the role his own; a moving moment of truth sung with passion and thought. This honest song reiterated the importance of just being you.


    While the songs seemed to either be a mixture of complex Sondheim-esque melodies or Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice style show-stoppers, the cast carried the songs flawlessly. They say that three is a magic number and this couldn’t have been truer during ‘I know it’s today’. Charting Princess Fiona’s journey from childhood to present day, the three Fiona’s dazzled in their role. Harmonising perfectly in a sweet story of hope for fairytale romance, their voices blended into one and tied the three ages of Fiona together in one majestic moment. Bronte Barbe too is simply stunning as Fiona and a marvellous dancer, particularly in an Astaire and Rogers style dance motive that was wonderfully timed, beautifully rehearsed and a refreshing start to act two.


    While Shrek may have been the star, Gerard Carey’s Lord Farquad is comedy gold. Lord Farquad? Yes. Lord of the show? Definitely. Between some fabulous puppetry leg work and facial expressions that left tears of laughter rolling down audience’s faces, Carey is one of the funniest physical comedy actors since Norman Wisdom. Not only that, his singing was simply sublime in ‘The Ballad of Farquad’. He may not have won the heart of Princess Fiona, but he certainly won ours.


    With a little something for everyone, no matter your age, Shrek the Musical is a treat for big kids and little kids alike.


    Photographs (C) Helen Maybanks

      Sarah's posts By Sarah O' Hara



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