Shrek the Musical

Wales Millennium Centre


Somebody once told me Shrek the Musical was a good production and generally worth seeing.

Rather, the show’s now 15-year life and many award nominations made it seem like a show to behold, with suitably ogre-like layers to keep the audience engaged.

The current run at the Wales Millennium Centre certainly showed itself off as the big production it is. Big cast, big sets, big budget. I would say this show is for kids, big and small.

The show followed the basic story of the first Shrek film, following the titular ogre as he reluctantly befriends donkey, reluctantly rescues a princess and inevitably falls in love.

Every scene change was met with a new, convincing and well-designed set design. I found it very impressive to see the adaption to the stage through the use of physical props and projection. For the most-part it stayed very true to the film.

The character’s designs made sense; you knew who everyone was meant to be. This was obvious immediately from the costume design (there was no mistaking the huge green creature in centre stage) or the on-point acting. Antony Lawrence (Shrek) was the standout here for bringing the main ogre to life, though it has to be said this Shrek was decidedly less Scottish than Mike Myers’.

I do also have to say that the puppet that was Gingy only had one expression, so he looked very anxious for the whole show. A small footnote on an otherwise very well put together set of props.

The song-and-dance numbers were all very well performed, too. The singing voices throughout were incredible. It’s hard to choose any stand outs because the standard was very high, but I was most impressed by Cheree Richards (the Dragon) and Joanne Clifton (Princess Fiona).

Everything was, ironically, very clean. That is except for the toilet humour, of which there was a pants full. There was even a Family Guy-esque fart-off number between Shrek and Fiona; I found that a little sore but the crowd really loved it.

Better out than in, I guess.

My only problem with this production was I found it lost a lot of the comedy from the source material. The film serves as a parody of fairy tales, poking fun at famous stories and itself. This production however was taking itself a bit too seriously. It chose big and loud over subtle and funny, but it certainly played well with the crowd.

When all is Shrek and done(ky), this show would make a good night out for anyone who loves the big green guy. So if that’s you, check it out. (I really wanted to write Shrek it out there).

Ollie Barnes