It’s all Ogre now, Shrek the Musical has went and left the Center for the Arts, but the swamp and the ogre’s who live there shall forever be in our hearts and our minds while we take the message to “Let our Freak Flag Fly” out into the world. Despite some technical difficulties Shrek the Musical was a charming and worthwhile experience.
Most of the magic that the show produced came from the chemistry between the three main characters Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey. At first tension is in the air when Shrek, an ogre, find himself stuck with a donkey. But as the ogre’s layers peel back you see the friendship that has formed between him and his noble steed. Add a mysterious princess to rescue in the mix, and you can see she has Shrek’s interest peaked enough that he picks her a pretty flower and is about to jeopardize his claim on his swamp just to tell her how he feels. Blasphemous for an ogre! And it’s hard to forget the friendship between Donkey and the princess, which is highlighted during a heartbreaking revel scene. It’s easy to tell overall that everyone is just having fun, and they bring this to life on stage.
The orchestra did a fantastic job, and the accompaniment did an excellent job accenting the voices of the entire cast. Plus, the choreography was engaging, leaving you wanting to join in.
Shrek’s voice was a joy to listen to. The signing was top notch. It was a credit to the actor when I could noticeably track the change in his voice, from a harsh tone in the beginning to a softer tone near the end that brought me to tears.
If you are someone who’s a stickler for clarity and diction some moments in the show which you could tell were supposed to be pivotal, left you scratching your head in confusion trying to figure out what was being belted out. Shrek I’m looking at you, however other cast members are repeat offenders. It wasn’t as bad as to completely ruin the enjoyment of the show, but it is something to mention.
Another highlight of the show was the stage presence of even the most minor of characters. They interacted with each other and reacted in believable ways. Throughout the show I found myself drawn into the story of the guards and the fairytale creatures just as much as the main characters.
Kudos are in order for the prop and costume department. The shiny and loud colors sported by the ensemble in Duloc, where perfect for the highly conformist town. The props aided the story, and where the source of much amusement. I can’t say I quite expected Fiona to pop her own doll’s head off, but it was a funny moment that added to her character. But the greatest thing of all for me, would have to be the giant puppet dragon that had to have multiple crew members hold it up. What a show stopper. The blinking eyes where enchanting and life like, and the way that the puppeteers made the mouth move with the music made it completely believable that this giant lizard was actually singing her tune.
Despite the promising qualities of the props and costuming, I found the set to be lacking. Yes the story book in the beginning was cool. Yes I understand they were going for a story book feel, but paying about twenty dollars I expected more than a few spinning trees. The concept was there, but it seems to me that they just went with the bare minimum and that left me the audience member feeling like I was missing an important part of the whole theater experience.
Shrek the Musical regardless of the drawbacks, was a really exciting show than surpassed my expectations and brought a huge smile on my face. I find myself waiting in anticipation for whatever Center show is next.