Review: A monster of a musical

The popular theatrical production, Shrek the Musical, has returned to Milton Keynes Theatre and plays until Sunday 3rd March.
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This hit production was a success on both Broadway and the West End. The story follows the adventures of Shrek and Donkey, as they attempt to defeat the dragon and save Princess Fiona. The musical includes iconic songs from the Oscar-winning DreamWorks animated film, such as ‘I'm A Believer’, ‘Big Bright Beautiful World’, and ‘I Know It's Today’.

Anthony Lawrence plays Shrek (The Lion King, Mary Poppins. Mathilde and We Will Rock You) with Joanne Clifton as Princess Fiona (BBC Strictly Come Dancing, Windfall and The Adams Family) whose fiery acting and strong vocals are excellent. Alongside them is Brandon Lee Sears as Donkey (Dreamgirls, Be More Chill, Come from Away, Heather, Motown the Musical and On the Town) whose task is particularly challenging in having to follow in the footsteps of the almighty Eddie Murphy. He plays his role admirably with some great moments, movement, and body language. I would, however, love to see a bit more of the irritating, animated, over-the-top character that we loved so much in the film.

The production was delightful, transporting the audience into the world of the story. The staging, scenery, lighting, and backdrop video projections were all masterfully executed, creating a mesmerising atmosphere that perfectly matched the tone and mood of the narrative.

Shrek and the characters from the fairytales.Shrek and the characters from the fairytales.
Shrek and the characters from the fairytales.

The orchestrations in this production were excellent, and the seven-piece band created an impressive sound, albeit painfully loud at times. The choreography was incredible, and the costumes were stunning. However, it was the show's incredible ensemble that stole the spotlight, with every person giving an individually outstanding performance in their acting, singing, timing, energy, and sharp and timely movement. They exuded the highest of energy and were simply joyous. Special mentions to Mark D’Arcy as Pinocchio. Cherece Richards as the Dragon (Once On This Island, Regent's Park Theatre) who sang with gusto and awe and Georgie Buckland as Gingy, whose powerhouse vocals truly blew the roof off. The kids will love it, so do get along whilst it’s still showing and book your tickets now at ATGTICKETS.COM/MiltonKeynes.