A SWAMP, an entourage of fairytale characters, a vertically-challenged villain and one big, smelly ogre: Shrek the Musical has made its mark on the Bristol Hippodrome.
Full of fun, songs and on-stage spectacles, the hotly-anticipated summer opening of this touring production of the hugely popular film and West End show has gone down a treat with adults and children alike.
Continuing his West End role as the stinky Scottish ogre, made unforgettable by Mike Myers in the 2001 animated film, is Dean Chisnall who is instantly loveable. Despite a huge suit and full face make-up complete with ogre horns, Chisnall impressively manages to keep up with the energetic cast even stomping down the centre aisle during the second half much to the surprise of the audience.
Faye Brookes takes on the role of Princess Fiona, already played in London by celebrities Amanda Holden and Kimberley Walsh, using her fine vocals to great effect. The sass displayed by Cameron Diaz in the film, in stark contrast to Disney’s often delicate princesses, is enhanced in the musical version with Fiona and Shrek’s burping and farting contest earning some of the loudest laughs of the night.
Idriss Kargbo has one of the hardest jobs of the production, playing the Donkey made so famous by comedian Eddie Murphy. The young actor does a wonderful job of bringing the non-stop talking ass, full of one-liners, quips and questions, to life with over-emphasised facial expressions and exaggerated body language.
Jaw-dropping spectacles come in the form of Dragon, brought to the stage by a talented group of puppeteers, and Princess Fiona’s floating change from human to ogre, in scenes which had the youngest members of the audience spellbound.
But it was Lord Farquaad who stole the show for many of us older folk. Brilliantly played by Torchwood star Gerard Carey, who despite being sat in a movable chair hiding his real legs for the entire two-hour show managed to strut his way across the stage with hilarious pomposity, the baddie of the tale gives rise to the most laughter of the show.
A fun original score is completed with a magical set and fairytale lighting, as well as a talented cast of actors who each play numerous characters including a talking gingerbread man and nose-growing Pinocchio.
Finished off with a version of I’m a Believer, as per the film, Shrek the Musical is big, bold and brilliant - a must-see treat for both kids and parents.
Shrek the Musical is on at the Bristol Hippodrome until Sunday, September 7.