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REVIEW: Shrek the Musical brings fantastic fairytale fun to the stage

By Kyle Ritchie

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The famous green ogre trying to live a peaceful life in his swamp is bringing the feelgood factor to north-east audiences this week.

Shrek the Musical has arrived at His Majesty's Theatre in Aberdeen with its colourful cast of fairytale characters.

Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks film, the Broadway and West End smash hit is on its latest UK tour.

Antony Lawrence leads the cast as the loveable ogre and it also stars former Strictly Come Dancing professional Joanne Clifton as Princess Fiona.

Antony Lawrence stars as Shrek.
Antony Lawrence stars as Shrek.

The musical closely follows the plot of the film as Shrek's tranquil life in his swamp is disturbed by a group of fairytale characters who have been banished from the kingdom of Duloc by the evil Lord Farquaad.

Shrek heads out on the road to Duloc in an attempt to sort the situation and get his swamp back.

On his travels he meets a talkative Donkey and the pair end up on a quest to save Princess Fiona who is trapped in a tower guarded by a seemingly frightening dragon.

Along the way unexpected friendships are forged and a surprising romance blossoms as true love's power must be found.

Much like the movie it is based on the musical has something for the young and the young at heart.

Antony Lawrence embodies the green ogre with great humour, emotion and continued energy as Shrek aims to complete his quest and get back to his swamp.

He and Brandon Lee Sears as Donkey are a fantastic double act who have great comedic timing together and bounce off each other tremendously well.

And they become a trio when Princess Fiona is rescued who brings a feisty element to the friendship.

The lead trio in Shrek the Musical.
The lead trio in Shrek the Musical.

The role for Joanne Clifton allows her to showcase different talents including a superb singing voice and a lot of humour.

She of course also gets to display her brilliant dancing skills in a memorable scene with a group of sparkly rats following the Pied Piper.

James Gillan plays an excellent villain as the diminutive tyrant Lord Farquaad chewing up the scenery when he is on stage.

The rest of the colourful cast – including Pinocchio, The Three Bears, Peter Pan and a cross dressing Big Bad Wolf – all get their moment in the spotlight displaying incredible dancing and singing and are a big presence in Shrek's quest.

Former Strictly Come Dancing professional Joanne Clifton plays Princess Fiona.
Former Strictly Come Dancing professional Joanne Clifton plays Princess Fiona.

The musical has a number excellent songs including Big Bright Beautiful World, act one finale Who I'd Be, the hilarious I Think I Got You Beat and Make A Move.

The show has eye-catching staging using a mix of physical scenery, video screens and lighting. When they are all utilised together they immerse the audience in the action, particularly during the big set pieces.

Shrek the Musical has a colourful cast of fairytale characters.
Shrek the Musical has a colourful cast of fairytale characters.

There is also a barnstorming rendition of a Monkees classic as Shrek and the rest of the characters try and reach their Happily Ever After.

As the curtain comes down it is impossible to leave the theatre without a smile on your face.

Shrek the Musical is being performed at His Majesty's Theatre until Saturday. Visit www.aberdeenperformingarts.com for tickets.

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