At the Midland Center for the Arts on Friday, there were many people with strange green ears on their head. I brought my own pair of ogre ears and I was looking pretty fresh. I thought this was going to be just like the movie, and with student tickets at $18 apiece it should come with a full course meal. I thought this was going to be a serious waste of money. I was wrong. Shrek the Musical is different enough from the movie to keep you entertained.
I was impressed with everything that was happening in the opening scene. Shrek’s costume was actually extremely impressive. I thought the green face paint would be dripping down the actors face by the end but it wasn’t. I was surprised, because that usually happens under hot stage lights. In the opening scene Shrek tells his childhood story about his parents (which are never mentioned in the movie) and the fact that they sent him away just like all ogre children. This sad little Shrek gets carried away by some angry villagers, then Fiona the Princess jumped though a set piece and interrupts with her own childhood. This was funny because It was really unexpected, but being sent away as a child to live in a tower is still sad.
However, Lord Farquaad’s character was perfect. The character was short in the movie, right? Well the actor that was playing him was a full grown man. How did they solve this problem? They made this old man, played by Dale Bills, walk around on his knees. The dancing around was funny and they fact that he was in a kick line was so ogre-geously funny I almost peed my pants. At the end more of Farquaad’s background is revealed. This was really great as a viewer. I mean an evil character without motives is boring, but with motives you understand why Farquad is such a douche. I don’t want to spoil it but it was funny to hate him for a reason.
Also, there are more characters than just Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey. The minor characters served their minor purpose to advance the plot. A new addition to this the group of homeless fairytale characters, was that lady from the new Disney movie Frozen. Elsa was a running joke throughout the whole musical using her iconic songs such as let it go, and Do You Wanna Build a Snowman. This had a huge effect on the children in the audience. The little five-year-olds that were sitting next to me, were singing. There were more songs introduced and Pinocchio had a solo. The character Pinocchio in the movie never really had a huge role in the movie. However, in the musical he stepped up, and forced Shrek to go to Duloc. But interesting enough we divulge in his character as being a “freak”. This freakish (see what I did there) theme occurred everywhere in the musical.
All around, this musical exceeded my expectations 100 percent. But, as always, there would be a few thing I would change if I was the director of this show. First off, I would add so many Shrek puns that the audience would Shrek their pants. I mean the fact that all the fairy tale creatures are banished to the swamp is a perfect time to add swamp puns. I would add a twist at the end of this musical just to differentiate from the fairytale ending in the movie. Even though there weren’t any puns, I still recommend watching this musical on Netflix or going to see a performance somewhere else because unfortunately the showings at the Midland Center for the arts are all ogre-now. But make sure you keep a look out for other musicals the cast performs. A super phenomenal show I give 10/10.