REVIEW: Shrek the Musical is endlessly imaginative, witty and full of sing-alongs

PUBLISHED: 15:41 27 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:41 27 July 2018

Laura Main as Princess Fiona and Steffan Harri as Shrek. Shrek the Musical UK and Ireland tour 2018. Photo: Helen Maybanks

Laura Main as Princess Fiona and Steffan Harri as Shrek. Shrek the Musical UK and Ireland tour 2018. Photo: Helen Maybanks

Archant

Endlessly imaginative, witty and laugh out loud funny, Shrek the Musical is a joyous reimagining of the fairytale story.

The cast of Shrek the musical at Milton Keynes Theatre.The cast of Shrek the musical at Milton Keynes Theatre.

The hero of the story is played brilliantly by Steffan Harri – recreating Shrek’s grumpy but soft-centred loveable ogre perfectly, while Laura Main dials up Princess Fiona’s scatty characteristics having been kept inside the same four walls for thousands of days - even nodding to her near-bipolar personality.

While the plot stays true to the movie - Shrek rescuing Princess Fiona from the dragon-protected tower, the real message is - as the myriad of fairytale creatures parade in the second half - to ‘let your freak flag fly’.

Steffan Harri as Shrek. Shrek the Musical UK and Ireland tour 2018. Photo: Helen Maybanks.Steffan Harri as Shrek. Shrek the Musical UK and Ireland tour 2018. Photo: Helen Maybanks.

It’s a popular theme with musicals and shows aimed at a young audience; to embrace our differences because that’s what makes us special.

This musical reincarnation has all the memorable one-liners from the original film, of course, but with extra on-trend touches (subtle references to Love Island, The Great British Bake Off and Lord Farquhar bragging that he has a billion followers on Twitter).

Marcus Ayton as Donkey. Shrek the Musical UK and Ireland tour 2018. Photo: Helen Maybanks.Marcus Ayton as Donkey. Shrek the Musical UK and Ireland tour 2018. Photo: Helen Maybanks.

The set designs, costumes, lighting and special effects are just as magical as the story itself; especially the fairytale creatures (cross-dressing big bad wolf, three blind mice reimagined as The Supremes and a particularly great Gingerbread Man).

The puppetry is pulled off without a hitch, too – most notably the longing-for-love dragon with an incredible voice thanks to Lucinda Shaw’s impeccable range.

The extent of Lord Farquaad’s little man syndrome is hilarious to watch, also, as the emasculated yet rampant future king squares up against Shrek himself.

But it’s Donkey who gets the most laughs; delivering a performance as funny and loveable as Eddie Murphy himself - with some added sassiness thrown in, Marcus Ayton’s facial expressions and expert timing cast him as a natural for the role.

With a stream of catchy sing-along songs to boot, it all adds up to create the perfect musical – for children and adults alike.

The show is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Sunday August 5. Performances are at 1pm, 2.30pm, 5pm and 7.30pm.

To book tickets, from £17.50 to £50, call the box office on 0844 871 7652 or visit www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

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