Culture Theatre

Shrek review at the Wales Millennium Centre

by Hannah Marie Stait

★★★★★

Throughout my childhood all the way through to now as I pretend to be an adult, my all time favourite movie has always stayed the same – Shrek! The 2001 Dreamworks animation has been a classic to so many 90’s kids and still continues to be the favourite of so many children today. It’s a fun-loving comedy with an important message and it was only right that it was turned into a huge musical in 2008!

That’s why this week I ventured to the Wales Millenium Centre to see this spectacular show for myself! Even with the wholesome nostalgic feel that this show gives, the incredible soundtrack and dance numbers make this a wonderful show for children and adults alike. While the show itself stays true to the lovable tale that we all know and love, the songs within are nothing short of powerful and really add something magical! My favourite song from the show is ‘Freak Flag’ which gives a message of solidarity and loving who you are even if you’re considered different. This is one of the main reasons that this musical is one of my favourites, there are powerful ballads and anthems that could make even the most cynical of people get goosebumps!

The lead role of Shrek was portrayed by understudy Michael Carolan and he did an outstanding job, his voice was smooth and he commanded the stage with ease. He was lovable, funny and really portrayed the scary ogre with a heart of gold perfectly, definitely a star performance! Laura Main was amazing as Princess Fiona and she was truly in character the entire time, she was sweet, comic and captured the hearts of every wannabe princess in the audience (including me!) – the chemistry between the two was so breathtaking that it almost seemed that we were truly watching two people (well, a princess and an ogre) fall in love! They were joined by Shrek’s faithful companion and trusty steed Donkey, portrayed hilariously by Marcus Ayton who commanded the role and dropped all of the iconic donkey catchphrases with ease. His song ‘Make a Move’ was soulful and funny and summed up this lovable character entirely. Donkey’s love life was portrayed wholly too – with the Dragon holding a starring role. Voiced by Lucinda Shaw, the puppetry for the dragon blew my mind and that of everyone in the audience moving fluidly around the stage, this puppetry really allowed this character to come alive and the interaction with Donkey made it all the more real!

I have to say that one of my favourite characters from this show is Lord Farquaad – as portrayed by Samuel Holmes. In the movie, this character is purely a villain but within the musical, this character while also the bad guy, he brings an element of comedy unlike any other! His jokes catered for everyone and he made me laugh with every scene that he featured in. The visual jokes involving his height also make the room fill with laughter and I believe he truly added to the show!

All of the other cast members, the fairytale creatures and guards only made this show more spectacular – adding depth to the show and enabling Shrek and musical fans to see their childhood favourite come to life before their eyes and the accompaniment of the orchestra really added to the amazing voices of the cast and truly added to the production, made it all the more real and added to the levels of escapism that these shows offer!

This show is really something that would please couples, families and friends alike, and if nothing else, it’ll show you to let your freak flag fly!

Shrek The Musical is in Cardiff until the 22nd of April and will continue to tour the UK until January 2019 so definitely go and get tickets to see this spectacular show!!

You can find tour dates and tickets at https://shrekthemusical.co.uk/

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