Shrek and Princess

Laura Main as Princess Fiona and Steffan Harri as Shrek. Pictures: Helen Maybanks

Shrek the Musical

The New Alexandra Theatre


It’s been ten years since Shrek, the jolly green giant, took to the stage for the first time on Broadway and if anything this current touring production is better than ever.

The show is packed with serious talent in every department backed up by a skilled production team who bring the original DreamWorks animated love story to life in one of the slickest and most professional shows you will see.

You might think it’s just for the kids but with music by award winning composer Jeanine Tesori and book and Lyrics by David Linsay-Abaire there’s more than enough subtle mature content and pure musical theatre delight to keep everyone brilliantly entertained.

You would be fooled into thinking this is an international cast with some very convincing American singing voices but this is mostly an all British affair with Steffan Harri heading the cast in the lead role as Shrek and filling the large shoes and suit the role demands with skillful9 ease.

Laura Main is fantastic as Princess Fiona with her pure Disneyesque singing voice, squeezing every ounce of humour and pathos from her part and was a joy to watch.

A small but huge favourite was Samuel Holmes who played the diminutive Lord Farquaad on his knees for the entire show with a gift for comic timing and matching the leads with his great vocal ability. Following in the solid hooves of Eddie Murphy is the excellent and solid Marcus Ayton as Donkey a fitting soulful companion for Shrek’s travels.


Samuel Holmes as the diminutive Lord Farquaad

Whilst all the leads were superb in their roles it became evident that this show is brimming with ability and every member of the ensemble seemed capable of stepping into a lead role. Notably Lucinda Shaw burned the house down as the gospel voice of the huge dragon that took to the stage. Jemma Revell also showed her range as the voice of the amusing Gingerbread man and the Sugar Plum fairy. Joseph Dockree was another who stood out as Pinocchio.

What connects all of this highly enjoyable show is the expert staging of the story by Tim Hatley. This is even more commendable considering it’s a touring show under the direction of Nigel Harman. There is a never a lull in the story with dozens of scene changes and clever segues that use every trick of stage technique and aided by Hugh Vanstone lighting all to the great effect. This was especially evident with Fiona’s opening of the second half and the song Morning Person. The simple open stage evolves from a comical song and dance with an assortment of animated creatures ending in a lavish Broadway show routine.

A high light of the show is a show stopping routine by the ensemble and the song Freak Flag. With so many brilliant voices and the superb live band under the direction of Colm O’Regan all in one place, the effect was powerful and uplifting. In the end though it’s the simple enduring story of love shining through physical adversity that melts your heart in the magical end scene when Shrek and Fiona are finally united.

This is a show that delights throughout so don’t be put off by the pantomime overtones of the Shrek story. It is genuinely funny with hilarious moments of Pythonesque madness, a fantastic musical soundtrack and a talented cast blessed with outstanding vocals. Furthermore this fluid and well-polished production is kept well on track by a skillful technical team that for one just night will have you believing that fairy tales really can come true. To 24-02-18

Jeff Grant


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