Unfortunately, we also think no Shrek musical would be complete without someone to equal Eddie Murphy, as Shrek’s talking sidekick, Donkey. Richard Blackwood delivers the same lines with tart humour. Though they earn a giggle, we can’t help thinking of the simultaneous roar and pathos with which Eddie Murphy’s Donkey was greeted in the cinema. On the other hand, Nigel Lindsay equals the superb Mike Myers as Shrek, spot on with the ogre’s gallows humour.
Generally, the plot well accommodates the additional ‘padding’ scenes. The expanded role of Lord Farquaad, in which we learn about his unfortunate upbringing, is inspired. Nigel Harman spends the all the time on his knees, with Farquaad’s pointless prosthetic legs dangling from his midriff, frequently exposing his tiny privates. The Pied Piper’s tap dancing rats are also a great touch, and definitely should have been in the originally film. The songs are catchy, childhood favourite material, especially the theme ‘Its a Big, Bright Beautiful World’ and the chorus song ‘Let Your Freak Flag Fly’, a great number with an important life message for children as well as an infectious tune.
There are some features (it would be a give away to say exactly what) which, while taking you by surprise, feel gimmicky to a lone adult viewer. However, the look of joy and surprise on each child’s face when they happen is enough to conclude they’re worth including. In the finale, when all the fairytale creatures climb aboard a massive wedding cake, you can’t but conclude that Shrek the Musical is a glorified pantomime. But its a bloody good one, perfect for family viewing.
Hurry up the show will be closing end of February!