One of the perks you get from working in the Travel Industry is that every now and again, we can get our hands on tickets to see the hottest new musicals to hit the London stage so when we heard all the hype surrounding Shrek the Musical and that it would soon be coming to a stage near us, needless to say there were members of the Door2Tour.com team that desperately wanted to go see it! With a little bit of persuasion and the fluttering of eye lashes, we managed to get hold of tickets and last night we hit London’s West End
on coach holidays
for a thoroughly enjoyable trip to Duloc that we won’t forget for a very long time…
I think what made Shrek the Musical
so enjoyable is that we had absolutely no idea on what to expect, sure we’d seen the films, but how on earth could that be adapted for the stage? Everyone knows that Shrek has made the song ‘I’m A Believer’ by The Monkees a cult classic for the film but we were left wondering how they could possibly come up with a catchy score to cover the length of the musical – at least 2 hours worth including the interval! But we were soon left eating our words by the time the curtain came down after enjoying tunes such as Big Bright Beautiful World
, Who I’d Be
, I Know It’s Today
and the camp classic of Lord Farquaad’s opening Welcome to Duloc
Excitedly we took to our seats and to be honest we were so overwhelmed by the beauty of the Drury Lane
Theatre that we almost missed the curtain going up! Not only is Drury Lane one of the most haunted theatres in London’s West End but I think it’s fair to say that it is one of the most beautiful too. You could just imagine the theatre filling up with Victorian ladies in their long flowing dresses and gentlemen wearing top hats taking to their seats and waiting for the show to begin – it got us contemplating why people no longer dress up when they go to the theatre? Anyway, the production crew for Shrek the Musical certainly could not have chosen a better location for a fairytale show – it was truly magical!
Don’t want to give too much away but the show begins with a sing-off between Shrek (played by the wonderful Nigel Lindsay) and Princess Fiona (played by the lovely Amanda Holden) as they relay tales of their unhappy childhood when their parents sent them away – Shrek to the unknown and Princess Fiona to a Tower that was guarded by a fire-breathing (and somewhat love-sick) Dragon. Fairytale characters including the likes of Pinocchio, Humpty Dumpty and a cross-dressing wolf descend upon Shrek’s Swamp by order of the mighty Lord Farquaad (played by the hilarious Nigel Harman). Obviously, Shrek is none too happy about this and to get rid of his unwelcome guests, he heads to Duloc to confront Lord Farquaad and demand that he gets his beloved Swamp back.
As he makes his way to Duloc, he comes across Donkey – an ass with attitude and a whole heap of verbal diarrhoea (superbly played by Richard Blackwood) and as much as Shrek tries, he cannot get rid of this annoying animal so reluctantly agrees that he can travel with him. On arrival at Duloc, the highlight of the show is Lord Farquaad’s Chicago-esque Welcome to Duloc
routine with his funny bendy legs guaranteed to be one of THE
most campest show stoppers ever – we won’t spoil the surprise but you’re sure to fall in love with Lord Farquaad - even though he is supposed to be the baddie in this show!
Unbeknown to Shrek, the cunning Lord Farquaad (who is also after a wife in order to become King of Duloc) persuades him to agree to rescue Princess Fiona from the Tower and in return, he will give him the Deeds to his Swamp. Without hesitation, Shrek agrees and with Donkey in tow, they head off to the Castle to rescue the Princess – a mission according to Shrek will be 'a piece of cake'! Keep your eyes peeled for a rather hilarious cow jumping over the moon as Shrek and his four-legged pal make their way to the Castle.
This so-called 'piece of cake' mission isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially for Donkey, as he is confronted with an angry, fire-breathing Dragon that also happens to be incredibly love-sick. I think it’s fair to say that the life-sized Dragon is another major highlight of the show and it would appear that the production crew drew inspiration from the costumes used in The Lion King – when you see the show you’ll soon know what I am talking about. It was great towards the end of the musical as you actually get to see the person who is behind the voice of the Dragon and I’m sure you’ll agree with us that she has one amazing singing voice.
Anyway, back to the story, Shrek and Donkey flee the Castle with Princess Fiona in tow and the wails of the love-sick
Dragon ringing in their ears. It’s when our unlikely trio are making their way back to Duloc that Princess Fiona’s secret is revealed to Donkey but Shrek and the rest of the audience don't find out what this is until the show has almost finished. Fans of the Shrek films will already know her secret but as some of you may not be familiar with the story, we do not want to spoil it for you.
It’s more or less guaranteed that you’ll be sent on a laugh-out loud journey as you follow them back to Duloc with scenes including a Pied Piper dance routine where Princess Fiona admits to being slightly Bipolar and throws out some funky tap-dancing moves, the hilarious hair flipping Lord Farquaad with his reversing White Horse affectionately called Spearmint Rhino
and the kids are sure to love the fart/burp off between Princess Fiona and Shrek.
All in all we found Shrek the Musical to be a colourful and exceptionally funny show with spectacular costumes and clever special effects involving the characters of Princess Fiona and the life-sized Dragon. But the highlight for us was definitely Lord Farquaad who despite his rather small stature packed a mighty big punch!
Shrek the Musical is billed to be an irresistible and thrilling mix of laughter, dancing, singing and adventure. Expect romance, hilarious comedy, 19 catchy new songs, a lot of lines from Donkey and some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll ever see on the London stage. If you’re lucky to go see the show, we’d be delighted to hear what you thought of it!