REVIEW: Shrek The Musical, Milton Keynes Theatre

As Shrek The Musical comes to Milton Keynes Theatre this week, reporters Bev Creagh and Stewart Carr went along yesterday to give their verdict.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 20th August 2015, 5:58 pm

CREAGH SAYS .... Confession time. I’ve never seen Shrek the Movie so I came to Shrek the Musical as an innocent – unlike my colleague Stewart Carr.

Of course I vaguely knew the story – good-natured jolly green ogre, fights off evil, wins fair princess and proves that true beauty comes from within. So far so saccharine

But I hadn’t realised that a) Shrek was Scottish, nor that b) Lord Farquaad would be such a raunchy little royal. The way he was portrayed as a malevolent mini megalomaniac was nothing short of magical.

The production is peppered with fairy tale characters such as the Big Bad Wolf in floral dressing gown and sporting a cigar as well as a grumpy Pinocchio with telescopic nose and hinged wooden legs. There were also cameos from Peter Pan, the Three Bears and the Sugar Plum Fairy alongside many others.

It’s slick and fast moving with colourful costumes, extravagant sets, energetic dance routines and a spectacular dragon that’s surely had not a little help from those War Horse wizards.

And there’s humour - much of it above the heads of the largely young and enthusiastic audience who were obviously familiar with the story and roared their approval throughout.

Donkey, played by Idriss Kargbo, was a particular delight – a larger-than-life ass who was the perfect sidekick for Shrek (Dean Chisnall).

Word on the street has it that the production is almost fully booked so ring the Box Office now if you want to have a chance of seeing this entertaining show.

CARR SAYS...I adored Shrek the movie, being one of those early naughties schoolkids who made the obligatory trip to the cinema when it first came out.

But when it comes to musicals, I tend to growl a little bit like Shrek to be honest – unless they are really something else.

However, not a single scene in this stage production ended without a roar of excited clapping and cheering from a sold-out audience.

It’s true, this music fest has all the ingredients of a fun, family panto with awesome production values.

Dean Chisnall stars as the soul-searching ogre forced on a mission to rescue a princess by the diminutive Lord Farquaad, played brilliantly by Gerard Carey.

Sporting tiny legs, and a troupe of elegant backing dancers dressed as not-so-brave knights, the little lord is the perfect pantomime villain that you just love to hate.

And Bronte Barbe is the beautiful princess Fiona, gracing the stage and sassing the audience wearing her almost iconic emerald green dress.

And as for Shrek, he is rather more in touch with his feelings than the film, more likely to burst into a sensitive ballad than rock out with ‘Bad Reputation’ while bathing in a pool of mud.

So, this isn’t quite like the movie, but it’s sweet and charming all the same... and the kids absolutely loved it,

Shrek The Musical plays at Milton Keynes Theatre until September 6. Tickets are available here.