Shrek- The Musical (Tour-Bristol Hippodrome)

Shrek is a short story made to last a long time but the first rate company keep it rattling along.

Dean Chisnall (Shrek) and Faye Brookes (Princess Fiona) in Shrek The Musical UK Tour
Dean Chisnall (Shrek) and Faye Brookes (Princess Fiona) in Shrek The Musical UK Tour
© Helen Maybanks

So the much anticipated, big budget musical attraction of the summer has arrived. The show firmly replicates the hit Dreamworks film of the big green ogre and an unlikely tale of friendship, trust and eventually love. The large company bring great energy, talent and commitment to the show which is led by Dean Chisnall who is in fine voice as the title role. The costumes and latex do not disappoint and he is a convincing Shrek full of flatulence and fun. Faye Brookes is a capable Fiona and all credit to the production team for avoiding a celebrity cast. Gerard Carey as Lord Farquaad steals the show from under their noses, a finely tuned comedy turn as the vertically challenged, pompous King.

The fairy tale folk are well defined and the appearance of the dragon a true moment to relish. The design (Tim Hatley) and lighting (Hugh Vanstone) make for a captivating sight; the presence of a live orchestra under the excellent direction of Dave Rose is also a time to celebrate. However, there is something missing. The script is uneven, the pace at times laboured and whilst Act 2 rose to the challenge it is hard to see exactly who this is targeted at. The nods to various musicals from Gypsy to Wicked via Lion King and Les Mis might keep the musical theatre nerd entertained, but somehow the subtle brilliance of the film is missing. The songs rush into scenes and the company diligently dance their socks off throughout the many extended routines but truly it is a very short story made to last a long time.

The first rate company make sure the show keeps rolling along and with the principals ably recreating the expected characters, it will no doubt be a great box office smash for the Hippodrome and onward venues.

Shrek-The Musical will play at the Bristol Hippodrome until the 7th September and then play Nottingham, Belfast, Dublin, Oxford, Manchester, Aberdeen, Canterbury, Newcastle upon Tyne, Birmingham, Glasgow, Sheffield and Plymouth to the 15th August 2015.