Saturday, 23 February 2013

Shrek the Musical


Whenever I hear that a musical is closing, I just can not resist to go and check it out. Even if it had never occurred to me to go and watch it beforehand. There's something about the finality of it and the fact, it may never return to the stage. And so it was with Shrek which is closing tomorrow after two years in the West End. Despite knowing that this is actually going on tour around the UK afterwards, I knew that I wouldn't bother to travel to it so couldn't help but go and check it out at Drury lane last night in one of its final performances.

To be honest, I think there is a reason that it had never entered my head to go before now because it is very very aimed towards children. It had farting and burping and bickering and some very obvious jokes that the children in the audience absolutely adored. There were some nods to the parents as well though with some quite sexual connotations in some of the jokes that would have been well over the children's heads (luckily) but made us adults giggle as it seemed so out of place in a kid's story. Donkey and Lord Farquaad also had some really hilarious moments.

What I really enjoyed, as a complete theatre geek, was the nod to many other musicals which it gave. That made me laugh a lot, because they popped up in wonderfully abstract locations that somehow made sense within the production. Whether it was a tiny bit of music, a spoken well known phrase, or even a prop/costume in some cases. It was perfect for people like me and reasonably clever.

I think if I was 8-10 years younger, I would enjoy the musical a whole lot more, in the same way that I adored the film back then. It was very faithful to the film and the songs were fittingly upbeat for the children at whom it was mostly aimed. I was very very impressed with the sets and special effects that were some of the best I have seen, moving smoothly from scene to scene without a hitch despite the frequent changes and complicated-ness of the sets. Finally I wanted to say a massive thumbs up to the actor playing Lord Farquaad, Neil McDermott whose knees must be killing him.

Despite my reservations, I can't say that I didn't have a great evening it's just that I would not necessarily pay to see it again. And that's always the tell tale sign of a great musical.

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