Shrek the Musical… Amazing or Ogre-Rated?

Shrek the Musical… Amazing or Ogre-Rated?

I love Shrek.  I have all 3 (We don’t talk about the fourth) on DVD.  I watch them whenever I’m sad, or ill, or need a good movie.  Shrek can never disappoint me (Again… we don’t talk about that fourth movie) and will always hold a special place in my heart.  Therefore, as both a Shrek enthusiast and avid musical lover (As explained here), Shrek the musical is the dream.

When the Bristol Hippodrome press office reached out about me reviewing the touring production* it was an absolute no-brainer.  In fact, when it first came to the UK 5 years ago, I tried to convince my friends to see it with me and nobody would.  Being invited to the press night of the touring production 5 years later is a pretty great full circle moment for me.

What is Shrek the Musical?

It is exactly what it says on the tin.  Some genius (Who probably, like me, was both a lover of musical theatre and an avid Shrek enthusiast) saw the Dreamworks animation and thought, “Hey, we should take this to Broadway”.  For those who don’t know (Who are you?!  Where have you been?!) Shrek is the magical story about our favourite green ogre who embarks on a quest to save a princess with the help of his unlikely companion, Donkey.

The musical version stays relatively true to the plot of the first movie.  However, the musical numbers allow for more backstories and expressions of emotions.  Not to mention, more chances for the other fairytale creatures of Duloc to shine.

How has it Changed Since Broadway?

As I mentioned in the introduction, I have wanted to see Shrek the Musical since I first heard about it.  Therefore, after nobody would see it with me years ago, I made my parents buy me the DVD of the Broadway production when I saw it on sale for £5 in Sainsburys.  I have watched the Broadway version and listened to the soundtrack more times than I care to admit, so I was really intrigued as to how this version would compare.

There have been some notable changes since its original Broadway runs.  I don’t know whether these are changes that have naturally occurred over time, or the work of the director Nigel Harman, but they definitely had me taking notice.

I Know It’s Today

To start with, Fiona’s rendition of ‘I Know It’s Today’ was completely transformed in this version.  The original saw Fiona’s growth in the castle, with the song beginning with a child actress, then the second verse being sung by a teen Fiona and the final by our older Fiona.  I felt that this really sold her struggle in the castle in a cute and lighthearted way.  However, this version chose to have a (Slightly shorter, eliminating the second verse) version sung solely by the fully grown Fiona, as she sung to her puppets that she made in her spare time.  I won’t lie, I prefer the original version and found the puppets a fairly odd choice that didn’t add to the number.

The Dragon

The original version, if I remember correctly, did involve a moving dragon.  However, there were also 3 singers that represented the dragon singing in the corner.  In this version, the dragon was maneuvered by 3/4 men in dark suits,  and there was no singer to be seen.  I felt that this worked incredibly effectively, and allowed the dragon to look as realistic as a large puppet dragon can.  The dragon was made beautifully and the movement used made the flying look incredibly fluid.  My only qualm was that, in having the dragon sing off stage, I couldn’t assign the dragon’s amazing vocals to the person they belonged to.  However, I was happy to see the voice of the dragon, Lucinda Shaw, come out in the final song!

General Thoughts…

I came in with high expectations, so it was likely that I would be disappointed.  However, I can attest that I left the theatre with a ginormous grin.  The touring production of Shrek comes at you with the same feel good humour as the movie.  It is rife with fart jokes, innuendo and physical humour, as well as some truly amazing songs.

People hear Shrek and assume it that can’t be taken seriously, but this is not the case.  Of course it stays true to its original childish nature, but it still has some breathtaking moments.  Songs like the Travel Song, I Think I Got You Beat and Story Of My Life prove to be incredibly catchy.  Then, you have songs such as Who I’d Be (My personal favourite), When Words Fail and the Finale that will have you reaching for the tissues and wondering why Shrek is making you feel things.  Yes, it is filled with childish humour, but there’s just as much in there for the adults.

The Cast…

Samuel Holmes as Lord Farquaad

Like I mentioned earlier, I am a massive fan of the Broadway production.  In fact, Sutton Foster (The original Broadway Fiona) and Christopher Seiber (The original Broadway Lord Farquaad) are big favourites of mine.  Therefore, this cast had a lot to live up to.

In the first half, I felt that Amelia Lily (X Factor) was not the best Fiona.  She chose to portray a far goofier version than Foster which I felt took the humour from subtle to more obvious, leaving some jokes to fall flat.  However, she did far better in the second act!  In fact, I may have actually prefered her version of ‘Morning Person’ to Foster’s!  Her American accent definitely needs a bit of work.  Though, overall, I left the performance content with her version, even if it took me a while to warm up to it.

I could not leave this review without talking about Samuel Holmes as Lord Farquaad.  Yes, Lord Farquaad is a comical character, but his execution was flawless.  Everything he did was brilliant: from his delivery of his 2 big numbers to his physical humour and innuendo.  He had me excited for the next moment he’d be on stage – a true talent for someone playing a villain.  He was definitely a standout in this performance, and I feel that he should be commended for that.

The fairytale characters of Shrek the Musical

In all honesty, the cast were brilliant as a whole.  The fairytale characters provided some brilliant, heartwarming ensemble performances and brightened up the stage with their costumes.  Honourable mentions go to Thomas-Lee Kid as the wolf, Lord Farquaad’s team as a whole and, of course, Michael Carolan as Shrek.

Little Tip…

I loved Shrek the Musical.  However, I wouldn’t consider this a stand alone musical.  To me, this is more of a beautiful addition to the Shrek franchise.  If you are a lover of the movies this is the perfect next step to fill you with joy.  As I said, it follows the same plot as the first movie.  However, due to the added songs and backstories, it goes into a different level of the film.

Go to Shrek the Musical having seen the film.  It can definitely be seen without – but this acts as the perfect accompaniment to the film.

Shrek from Shrek the musical UK Tour

Would I Recommend It?

Yes.  Before seeing this I believed that you can never go wrong with Shrek, and this only strengthened that.  It’s a great 3 hours of fun, perfect for some humour and light relief.  You’re met with the charming Shrek you’ve seen pixelised, with the added magic of a musical theatre stage.

If you think this seems like something you’d want to see, you’ll be happy to hear that they’re still on tour!  Check out the tour website here to find out when and where you can find the musical for yourself.  If you want to see it in Bristol like I did, hurry!  It’s only in Bristol until 19th August, so you’ve got to be quick!

Have you seen Shrek the Musical?  Would You see it?  Let me know in the comments!

Lots of love,

Jas xx

 

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*DISCLAIMER* This review is not sponsored, but I was given a complimentary ticket to see this show.  However, that does not affect the integrity of my review.  All my thoughts and opinions are my own and I always work to keep my reviews genuine and honest.

The photos used in this post were not taken by me, and were provided for promotional purposes.  Credit goes to Helen Maybanks.

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69 Comments

  1. August 11, 2018 / 1:35 pm

    I was looking forward to your review and you didn’t disappoint! We took the kids to see in in the West End a few years ago and loved it!

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 11, 2018 / 1:59 pm

      Awwww I’m so glad that my review didn’t disappoint! It’s such good fun!

      Jas xx

      • August 11, 2018 / 2:02 pm

        💜🙏🏼

  2. August 11, 2018 / 2:35 pm

    very comprehensive, now I want to see it for myself

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 11, 2018 / 11:26 pm

      Yay!

      Jas xx

  3. August 11, 2018 / 4:11 pm

    We saw it in the West End with Kimberley Walsh a couple of years ago – my girl took a friend and they absolutely loved it!

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 11, 2018 / 11:29 pm

      It is such a fun show!

      Jas xx

  4. August 11, 2018 / 4:34 pm

    I saw this a couple of years ago when it toured and came to Norwich. My sister was a huge fan as as a child so I got her tickets as a gift. We really enjoyed it! Great review.

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 11, 2018 / 11:29 pm

      Thank you! Yeah it’s so much fun isn’t it!

      Jas xx

  5. Becca Blogs It Out
    August 12, 2018 / 8:11 am

    I love musicals and really want to see this! Thanks for a great review! x

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 8:21 am

      Awwww I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Jas xx

  6. August 12, 2018 / 8:27 am

    My partner keeps saying he’d love to see this! We’re both ex performers (he went on to do it at uni too) so we love all things musical theatre 🙌🏼 I might have to see when they’re next up near us and get him tickets as a treat! ☺️ xx

    Jade | jademarie.co.uk

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 8:32 am

      Yessss I too love all things musical theatre! Hope you get a chance to see it!

      Jas xx

  7. August 12, 2018 / 9:12 am

    I would love to see this musical! Thank you for reviewing it for us, it’s made me even more certain that I need to see it! 💖

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 7:32 pm

      Glad that it confirmed your need to see it! Thank you for reading!

      Jas xx

  8. August 12, 2018 / 9:13 am

    I haven’t watched Shrek in YEARS but Jake and I realised the other day that it’s been put on Netflix so i’m sure some rainy day soon we’ll be snuggled up watching it! The dragon looks particularly cool and I’m so happy for you that you got this opportunity girl, hope you had the best night and keep working hard!
    Alice Xx

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 7:34 pm

      Awwww thank you so much Alice xxx Hope you and Jake enjoy a snuggly night in watching Shrek haha

      Jas xx

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 7:36 pm

      Yeah that’s fair, it’s definitely catered more to kids than adults so I could see it being a little bit pantomimey!

      Jas xx

  9. August 12, 2018 / 7:48 pm

    Great post! Films don’t always work when they are turned in to musicals so I’m really pleased to hear that this one works so well. And anything which spreads happiness is a winner in my book!

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 8:04 pm

      Yeah, films can always be risky, so I’ glad that it was good!

      Jas xx

  10. August 12, 2018 / 8:02 pm

    Aww I would LOVE to go and see this! xx

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 8:05 pm

      You totally should!

      Jas xx

  11. August 12, 2018 / 8:07 pm

    Such a detailed and thorough review! I love the Shrek movies. I used to watch the first one all the time as a kid. I really hope the musical comes to where I live! I would 100% go see it!

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 8:08 pm

      I hope it comes to you too, it’s definitely worth a try!

      Jas xx

  12. August 12, 2018 / 8:09 pm

    I had heard of Shrek The Musical but it is true that I did not take it seriously. I am so glad you’ve had a blast and loved it! Sounds like a great musical and i’d love to see it!

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 8:10 pm

      It’s still quite lighthearted, but it’s a lot better than you’d assume it would be!

      Jas xx

  13. August 12, 2018 / 8:15 pm

    This is such a great review! I love how detailed it is! I haven’t seen Shrek in such a long time, but this seems like it would be a really fun production. Thank you for sharing!

    ~ Paige

    http://www.currentlylately.com

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 8:17 pm

      Thank you so much, I tried to make it detailed!

      Jas xx

  14. August 12, 2018 / 8:16 pm

    Ahh so happy you got the chance to see the show! I absolutely love the Shrek films so I’m intrigued to see what the stage show is like. I just love musicals so this will have to be added to my list! X

    Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 8:17 pm

      I hope you get a chance to see it, it was so much fun!

      Jas xx

  15. August 12, 2018 / 8:19 pm

    What a through review! That sounds like an amazing musical! Shrek is definitely something that makes me smile when I’m down so I’d love to go and see this!
    PaleGirlRambling xo
    http://palegirlrambling.co.uk

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 8:20 pm

      Thank you, I try and make my reviews pretty thorough and I’m glad that shows! Honestly the performance made me smile so much!

      Jas xx

  16. August 12, 2018 / 8:34 pm

    This is a great review! I love the idea of a Shrek Musical!!!

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 8:35 pm

      Honestly, I’m a big fan!

      Jas xx

  17. August 12, 2018 / 8:37 pm

    I really love musicals, I don’t go to the theatre as much as I would like but Shrek the musical really sounds like a show I have to see! I watch the first shrek film all the time (it’s the best one) Great review! X

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 8:39 pm

      Thank you, I hope you get a chance to see it!

      Jas xx

  18. August 12, 2018 / 8:38 pm

    I’ve heard of Shrek the musical before and I’d love to watch it! This was a great, in depth review, it makes me want to watch it even more! Thanks for sharing x

    Ashleigh | ashleighwrites.co.uk

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 8:39 pm

      Awww thank you so much, I was trying to make it as in depth as possible!

      Jas xx

  19. August 12, 2018 / 8:40 pm

    I’ve watched the DVD of the broadway version and loved that! I nearly booked to see this for my boyfriends birthday as he loves the film but they had no good seats left☺️
    Brooke x
    http://www.brooke-pearson.co.uk

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 8:44 pm

      The broadway version is so good! I too have the DVD haha, it’s a pity they had no good seats left when you wanted to see it 🙁

      Jas xx

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 8:45 pm

      Thank you so much, I strongly recommend dragging them along haha it’s so worth it!

      Jas xx

  20. Life With Telia
    August 12, 2018 / 8:57 pm

    This really makes me want to take my girls to see the musical because they love Shrek. They watch it like 6 times a day it drives me nuts, but I think they will enjoy it.

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 8:58 pm

      I think they’d absolutely love it, you should give it a go!

      Jas xx

  21. August 12, 2018 / 9:00 pm

    Such a great and thorough review, Jasmine! I love Shrek (although definitely not the fourth movie haha) and I loved reading about your review of the musical, it sounds awesome! The title of this post is just so pun-tastic too 😂 xx

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 9:02 pm

      Haha thank you for commenting on the title – it took me more time to think of than I care to admit! Shrek is honestly one of my favourite things, glad to hear you love it too!

      Jas xx

  22. August 12, 2018 / 9:01 pm

    Shrek in the first photo scares me a little bit I won’t lie, although Bristol Hippodrome I spent many years watching musicals at when growing up!

    It sound great to watch live, although as mentioned on it being the next step onto watch I’m not sure I would go see it this time!

    Alys / alysgeorge.blogspot.co.uk

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 9:02 pm

      Haha yeah, seeing a live version of Shrek definitely takes some getting used to!

      Jas xx

  23. August 12, 2018 / 9:03 pm

    First up, the title is fab! This is a lovely post, I’ve wanted to see this but always wondered whether it would be worth it! Thank you for this, you may have persuaded me! xx

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 9:05 pm

      Haha thanks, it took me a while to come up with a good title and I’m very proud of it ngl 😉 You should totally go see it, I’m happy to help!

      Jas xx

  24. August 12, 2018 / 9:09 pm

    I haven’t watched Shrek in years, but it is a good lift-me-up when you do watch it. I must admit, I do love a musical at the theatre, I went to see one at Christmas and it was a fab night!!

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 9:12 pm

      Musicals are so great!

      Jas xx

  25. August 12, 2018 / 9:20 pm

    I’m adding this to my must see musical list! I wasn’t sure if it would be for me, but it sounds like an awesome production!

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 12, 2018 / 9:22 pm

      Yay! It truly is an awesome production

      Jas xx

  26. August 12, 2018 / 10:23 pm

    This was such a good review, I don’t know if I’ve been living under a rock but I didn’t even know that there was a Shrek musical. So glad that you got to see it this time around! Amazing that you weren’t disappointed too, I’m always so worried about stuff like that when I hype something up in my head x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 13, 2018 / 12:47 pm

      Thanks so much Sophie!

      Jas xx

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 13, 2018 / 12:47 pm

      Haha so do I it was amazing!

      Jas xx

  27. August 12, 2018 / 10:39 pm

    I’ve wanted to see this for ages! So many people I know have seen it and loved it!

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 13, 2018 / 12:48 pm

      You totally should if you have the chance!

      Jas xx

  28. August 13, 2018 / 7:37 am

    Oh wow, I’ve never even heard of this before! I love Shrek (the first few) too as they’re just so light hearted and fun to watch! I’d love to check this out at some point!

    Soph – https://sophhearts.com x

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 13, 2018 / 12:50 pm

      I hope you get a chance to check it out!

      Jas xx

  29. August 13, 2018 / 10:52 pm

    Oh you have definitely encouraged me to go and watch this for myself! I love all Shrek movies and from the sound of it I know I will love this too! xx
    https://beaulife.org

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 14, 2018 / 9:55 pm

      Awww I hope you enjoy it if you see it!

      Jas xx

  30. August 13, 2018 / 11:12 pm

    What a great opportunity for you! Glad you enjoyed!

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 14, 2018 / 9:55 pm

      Thank you!

      Jas xx

  31. August 15, 2018 / 8:28 pm

    Would love to see this musical!! Love the movies so much. It looks like great fun! x

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      August 15, 2018 / 8:29 pm

      It was honestly so much fun!

      Jas xx

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