Musical: Shrek The Musical
Venue: Grand Opera House, York
Dates: Until Saturday, September 21
Review by: Julia Pattison
As a fan of the Shrek films I was curious to see whether I’d be disappointed with this stage version, a huge challenge for a professional Theatre Company, never mind an amateur one.
I needn’t have worried, in the capable hands of Producer Nik Briggs (who also, by popular request took on the role of Shrek and brought the character wonderfully to life), director and choreographer Damien Poole, and musical director Stephen Hackshaw, York Stage Musicals raised their already high bar, and reached the stars with their fabulous show at the press night I attended.
To have such a large live orchestra was a treat in itself, but add to that a cascade of colourful costumes, fairytale characters, stunning sets, amazing performances from the whole cast, and last, and definitely not least, being blown away by the appearance and beautiful singing voice (Emily Ramsden) of an enormous dragon who became magically real in the skilful hands of the Dragon Puppeteers.
Nik was an absolute delight as everyone’s favourite ogre, as was the charismatic Chris Knight, playing Donkey to perfection, with Jacqueline Bell making a fabulous Fiona. Joe Wawrzyniak nearly stole the show with his pantomime portrayal of Lord Farquaad, the baddie we all loved to hate; this talented actor is certainly not short of talent.
Spectacular singing and dancing scenes, leading up to a stunning finale “This Is Our Story”, and “I’m A Believer” where we were all up on feet joining in with the cast, truly believing in the magic we’d seen created that night from such a talented cast and creative team. Bravo!