16th December 2014
Manchester tour dates: December 2nd 2014 – January 11 2015
Tonight’s performance at the Manchester Opera house was Shrek the musical, directed by Nigel Harman. Having only seen the film production of Shrek (2001), but hearing rave reviews of it’s stint on the West End. I sort out the show with much enthusiasm.
So on a cold and wet December night I finally managed to see it.
Curtains up and the first half burst out in wonder with an incredible set design and costumes, the magic of Duloc pouring onto it’s audiences with songs such as ‘Big Bright Beautiful World’ and ‘Welcome to Duloc’.
The play stays true to film with storyline, however often fitting in songs where there wasn’t a need. The part of Shrek (Dean Chagall) for the protagonist, was a weak role, acted almost seemingly tired after only two weeks of performances, fortunately he was carried by a strong and energetic performance from Faye Brookes (Fiona) who’s lively ‘alpha female’ attitude was refreshingly comical.
Second half, and although excitable and energized, Donkey (Idriss Kargbo) was the weakness of the show about from the forgettable songs. The idea of donkey being shy but witty in the role was missed by the actor and instead performed with overconfidence and attitude, and his comedy fell on many deaf ears of the experienced members in the crowd. However towards the younger audience members it was clear to see the attraction in the ‘pantomime’ style acting. This is something he will learn to overcome with time.
By the end, Lord Farquhar (Gerrard Carey) stole the show. Miles stronger in his role and natural in his comedy role that the rest. Most probably through influence of director Nigel Harman who played Farquhar on the West End. There was a significant highlight put on the role which was left to leave the audience in stitches.
The last note to the versatile ensemble with powerful vocals making most of the songs. They really made the show the success it was in the end.
Overall a great family show, one for the younger audience as the show is more of a pantomime rather than a renowned musical.