Shrek (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Shrek (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Thursday 31st May 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

Leaving the theatre after seeing Shrek, my nieces had beaming smiles on their faces and said "it was amaaaaaaaaazing", if that's not testament enough to the show then I don't know what is. This show is aimed at children, and they clearly love it.

If for some reason you've never heard of Shrek, it tells the story of an ogre whose swamp has been invaded by fairytale characters, banished there by leader of Duloc, Lord Farquaad. Shrek is sent on a mission to save a princess from a tower who is more than meets the eye. 

Steffan Harri bursts onto the stage with energy and a brilliant portrayal of the iconic Scottish ogre. Steffan is a joy to watch; he genuinely seems to enjoy his time on stage as well as providing some beautiful singing, especially during Who I'd Be. There is a depth to Shrek which is lovely to see played out on stage and he emotively puts the message across that being yourself is the best way to live.

As Shrek's companion, Marcus Ayton is hilarious as Donkey. Marcus is close enough to the original portrayal by Eddie Murphy that the character from the film isn't lost, but unique enough to still keep the role surprising. Marcus has sass and facial expressions for days and is truly joyous to watch on stage. Plus his voice is killer!

Laura Main is energetic and  eccentric in her portrayal of Princess Fiona. She puts a smile of your face whilst providing a humourous, vocally strong performance. Her chemistry with Steffan is also great and the pair bounce off one another well, especially during I Think I Got You Beat.

Samuel J Holmes is certainly the stand out of the show as Lord Farquaad. His quick humour and stage presence are outstanding. I'm sure everyone mentions how bruised his knees must be, but it's seriously impressive that he moves with such agility every night. Samuel knows how to work both the audience and his cast mates; particularly humourous last night was when he picked up a dropped cloth mid monologue and asked his guard to take it back to costume. This not only had the audience in stitches but also had his cast mates evidently hiding laughter. 

All the iconic fairytale characters also appear in the show, with Jemma Revell as Gingy and the Sugar Plum Fairy stealing her scenes with her insanely good vocals. Equally as brilliant is   Lucinda Shaw who plays the Dragon and the Fairy Godmother. Her voice is off the charts good and I can't wait to see what other roles she tackles in the future as she's surely destined for stardom.

This production is smooth and exciting, with great lighting and sparkle to make it a magical show for children and adults alike. One thing which fell flat personally, was I Know It's Today. As someone who's never seen the show before, I was only aware of this song, performed so brilliantly by Sutton Foster. In previous productions it's staged with a young Princess Fiona, a teenage Fiona and the current adult Fiona but in this production the two youths are replaced by puppets. This is most likely due to costs which is understandable but it was a little too cheesy for me.

This is a great family show that fans of the film series will love. Solid performances all round, clever songs and a whole load of musical theatre references thrown in, Shrek is certain to thrill anyone who sees it.

Shrek runs at the New Victoria Theatre until June 10th, before continuing it's tour.

photo credit: Helen Maybanks

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