People of all ages drank swamp juice; their excited faces crowded the MCFTA lobby. Equipped with ogre ears and a sense of humor, the audience was touched by “Shrek the Musical”, an impressive adaptation of DreamWorks’ classic Shrek films.
The musical had many unforgettable moments like the powerful duets and Shrek’s flawless Scottish accent. However, the character development was what really blew me away. Shrek’s parents forced him to leave home and find his own swamp to live in at age seven. As a result, Shrek grew up in isolation and avoided socializing with others and forming long-lasting relationships. As the musical progresses Shrek meets characters like the brave Princess Fiona and the sassy, fun-loving Donkey. Shrek initially displays some reluctance at first, but eventually accepts Donkey’s friendship and falls madly in love with the princess. The fairytale characters who are sent by Lord Farquaad to live in Shrek’s swamp also have a change of heart; at the beginning they beg Shrek for help and in the end they crash Lord Farquaad’s wedding and stand up to him. This character development acts as an effective message for children; to see favorite fairytale characters standing up for themselves hopefully will inspire younger audience members to do so as well. Another character who displayed remarkable development was Princess Fiona who was cursed to transform into an ogre at sunset, every night. She grew up telling herself she was hideous and unlovable. With the help of Shrek, as the musical progresses she realizes that she is beautiful not for her physical appearance, but rather who she is as an individual; this character development also sends an important message to younger children that beauty is on the inside and self-love is crucial.
The costumes were amazing and matched up with the clothes the characters in DreamWork’s Shrek film, while still maintaining originality. The costume that stood out the most to me was the hilarious Lord Farquad costume. The costume was designed to create the illusion that Lord Farquaad was of short stature. This was done by the actor being on his knees and the pants of the costumes had fake shoes coming out of the knee area. Not only was this comical to the audience, but it was well done and extremely innovative. I was impressed by the fairytale character costumes as well; Pinnochio, the Big Bad Wolf, and others like the witch and Humpty Dumpty were easily recognizable. Pinnochio had a nose that grew when he lied and had black marks on his legs to indicate he was made of wood. The Big Bad Wolf was wearing the classic granny costume and during the musical number “Freak Flag” shed the old dress to reveal a fancy purple dress and confessed to the audience that he was a cross-dresser. A giant puppet operated by over three people was used for the dragon guarding Princess Fiona’s tower. The dragon had a movable tail, wings, and mouth; and towards the end of the play the dragon had a transformation that no one saw coming.
“Shrek the Musical” was suitable for all ages and had elements that both younger and older audience members would find appealing. Shrek the musical has a vast variety of themes that are fairly relatable. Some of the themes I picked up on are as follows: love, internal beauty, and self-acceptance. As we age we are taught to trust others and love ourselves as well, but even as adults we sometimes forget and need reminding. Through flawless musical numbers and witty dialogue both children and adults will see that the themes in the musical are long-lasting and hopefully the lessons and concepts they teach will be unforgettable. The fairytale character Elsa was a part of the fairytale characters which appealed to younger audience members due to the popularity and success of Disney’s Frozen. There were also jokes directed towards adults and young adults about Lord Farquad’s compensation; these are just a few examples of the many ways that “Shrek the Musical” reached out to all age groups.
I would definitely recommend “Shrek the Musical” to anyone looking for a laugh, a good time, or just a fun, family friendly musical.