So this week I was treated to a proper date night at the theatre to see Shrek the Musical.
Having only opened on May 6th and with a star-studded cast (Amanda Holden, Richard Blackwood & Nigel ‘Dirty Den Junior’ Harmen) I was excited to see this box office hit take to the stage.
It would have been so much better too had I not lost the tickets 10 minutes before entering the theatre, by leaving them on the back on the toilet in the pub we’d been in before.
Cue some serious death stares from the boyfriend, a lot of sheepish looks from me and very nearly ruined evening.
Like every good fairy tale though there was a happy ending and we managed to get in to see the show. Thanks to modern technology and my boyfriend’s debit card!
But now about the show itself.
As a self-confessed musical geek (abuse me all you want for that statement, I’m sticking by it.) I have pretty high expectations for every show I go to see. I wasn’t overly impressed with the celeb line-up, my initial thought was that Amanda Holden was slightly too old for the role of Fiona and this was semi-confirmed on Monday night. She did have a fantastic voice and figure and her comedy timing was excellent, unlike a certain donkey on the stage. However there was something about her performance that felt dated?! Her mannerisms made it feel as though I was watching Amanda Holden play Princess Fiona in Shrek rather than being swept up in the character, there was something quite pantomime about the whole performance? Her 10-year-old counterpart, though, was something to be admired. Unbelievable talent from someone so young…faultless voice and incredible expression!
As for Richard Blackwood, pffft. There are no words, some may say he played his part well…in looking like a total Ass. His voice wasn’t projected well enough and it felt as though he was stumbling over his lines, as though he wasn’t yet comfortable enough on the stage to let them flow. Perhaps in a couple
months years he will have the part down to perfection.
Nigel Harmen, who is better known for his dishy good looks on Eastenders as Shaaaaaron’s love interest was the biggest surprise of them all! He was absolutely fantastic and totally hilarious. True, his character did allow the most comedic scope but he exploited that to its full extent and had the audience in stitches. It almost left me wishing the title was actually Lord Farquuard the Musical.
The ensemble, as per the majority of west-end shows, were utterly faultless and bought to life those well-known characters from the Disney Pixar animation. From Pinocchio to the Gingerbread Man the large ensemble numbers were some of my favourite. In particular the Sugar Plum Fairy had an unbelievable voice as did the woman cast in the role of the dragon. Total utter stars.
Want to see/hear more? Check out the trailer below of the Broadway version…