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Review: Adults and kids will love 'Shrek the Musical'

By: Scott Overton - In The Spotlight

 | May 21, 2014 - 10:36 AM |
"Shrek: The Musical" captures the irreverent fun and offbeat charm of the movies, plus it adds a whole lot of energetic songs, especially the big production numbers involving the larger cast. Supplied photo.

"Shrek: The Musical" captures the irreverent fun and offbeat charm of the movies, plus it adds a whole lot of energetic songs, especially the big production numbers involving the larger cast. Supplied photo.

If you’ve never seen any of the Dreamworks animated films about Shrek the grumpy but lovable ogre, perhaps assuming they were only for kids, then you’ve missed out on a lot of fun.

You can make up for it by catching "Shrek: The Musical" presented by Theatre Cambrian until May 31.

Shrek is crude, irritable, sarcastic and utterly selfish — all of the things you don’t expect in a fairy tale hero. His blissful life in his swamp is suddenly disrupted by an invasion of nearly every fairy tale character you’ve ever heard of.


They’ve all been banished from the kingdom of Duloc by the evil Lord Farquaad. To regain his swamp, Shrek must agree to rescue Princess Fiona, imprisoned in a faraway castle guarded by a fire-breathing dragon, so Farquaad can marry the princess and become king.

Shrek’s only help is from a chatterbox donkey he can’t escape or persuade to stop talking. Meanwhile, Princess Fiona has a lifelong dream of being rescued by her handsome Prince Charming, but she also hides a startling secret. The story that follows turns the entire fairy tale genre on its head.

"Shrek: The Musical" captures the irreverent fun and offbeat charm of the movies, plus it adds a whole lot of energetic songs, especially the big production numbers involving the larger cast.

They include the clever “Story Of My Life” and “Freak Flag,” as Pinocchio and friends complain about their hard lot in life and vow to change their unfair status as “freaks.”

“I Know It’s Today” uses three talented actresses to portray Fiona at different ages during her long wait in captivity. “I Think I Got You Beat” is a well-conceived bonding moment for Fiona and Shrek. And the donkey plays matchmaker with a fun and funky number called “Make A Move” that has a real Motown flavour.

There are some powerful voices on stage in this production, especially Scott Infanti as Shrek, Aleeta Lee as the Dragon, Natalie Proctor as Fiona, and young Trinity Thibeault as the young Fiona.

Proctor also does a great job delivering both the sassy and naïve sides of Fiona. Brandon Lefebvre expertly channels Eddie Murphy as Donkey (it’s hard to picture the role done any other way) and Dennis Cropper is suitably smarmy as Lord Farquaad.

I also have to commend the whole Theatre Cambrian team for all of the effort that went into other elements of the production, from the lavish and whimsical costumes, to the impressive set, to the vigour and precision of the dance numbers. Well done.

Most of all, remember that while this show is suitable for kids, adults shouldn’t miss out on the fun.

Shrek The Musical plays at Theatre Cambrian through May 31. The box office number is 705-524-7317 or go online to www.theatrecambrian.ca.

Scott Overton is the author of the thriller Dead Air. He writes theatre reviews for Northern Life.

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