REVIEW: Shrek – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Fourteen years ago Shrek exploded onto our screens and redefined the ‘family film’: a movie so clever and sophisticated that it had both adults and children rolling in the aisles. But taking this beloved movie classic and making it into a musical? Unimaginable you’d think, but boy would you be wrong. Not only have they made it into a musical, they’ve done it in grand style.

The big-hearted Scottish ogre, Princess Fiona, Donkey and, of course Lord Farquaad are all here, as is the fire-breathing dragon and a whole host of fairy tale favourites. Retaining all of the humour of the film (and it’s storyline: anti-social ogre is duped into going on a quest to rescue a princess and finds true love in the process) and adding even more by giving a back story to each of the main characters, this is an impossible-to-resist night of laugh out loud fun.

There’s no discernible difference between this touring production and that in the West End and it reads as rich and lavish in the auditorium, there’s also a fine orchestra briskly conducted by Dave Rose.

The cast too, are first rate. The ensemble give strong support and special mention needs to be made of Candace Furbert whose soaring vocals give life to the Dragon. Dean Chisnall is an outstanding Shrek, the right mixture of gruff gross and good-hearted, he also has an unexpectedly melodious voice for an ogre. Nikki Bentley, stepping in to the role of Princess Fiona due to Faye Brookes tonsillitis, is a revelation, her comic timing is spot on and she’s a fine singer, but without doubt the night belongs to Gerard Carey’s scene-stealing and show-stopping turn as Lord Farquaad. I defy anyone not to be in hysterics at his antics.

This is a huge, big-hearted romp replete with frolics, farts and fun for all the family. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

*On a side note, musical theatre geeks can set themselves the challenge of identifying all the references to other shows dotted throughout. (I counted seven).

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