A flashy musical for the whole family, Aref Omar discovers that Shrek The Musical is child’s play
THE fairytale adventures of the grouchy green ogre with a heart of gold and his feisty princess bride come to life on stage in Shrek The Musical.
Based on the Oscar-winning animated CGI film from DreamWorks, the production features most of the prominent and integral scenes from the first film, including some word-for-word dialogue parts.
The audience last Wednesday evening at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre had a blast watching the ogre Shrek on his quest to save Princess Fiona from a dragon-infested tower for Lord Farquaad so the ogre could reclaim his swamp home from being overrun by exiled fairytale creatures. Shrek and the cursed Princess Fiona later fall in love.
They then had to foil Lord Farquaad’s devious plan to become King to realise their happy ever after ending.
The original film featured the voice talents of Mike Myers as Shrek, Eddie Murphy as his sidekick Donkey, Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona and John Lithgow as Lord Farquaad.
With the musical, these characters retained their essence, with the stage actors providing similar depictions from the film versions, augmented by eye-catching costumes and makeup.
Prosthetics, padding and green body paint made Shrek believable and a furry donkey suit with hooves did it for the ogre’s pal.
But the character that stood out during the 150-minute musical was Lord Farquaad, whose short stature is conveyed by actor Merritt David Janes playing the villainous character literally on his knees.
Flamboyant and campy at times, the character never failed to elicit laughs from the audience, comprising mostly of families and children.
It helped that the musical also provided a more comprehensive background to the character.
Shrek, played by Lukas Poost, retained the giant ogre’s Scottish brogue and drew laughter from the kids, mostly from the ongoing gag of being an uncouth ogre who delivered bouts of flatulence and belches with glee.
Liz Shivener’s upbeat Princess Fiona made an impression with her spirited delivery of the songs with melodious clarity and grace. Some of the highlights of the musical score, which featured 19 new songs, were Welcome To Duloc, Travel Song and the ambiguous Freak Flag.
The musical numbers were accompanied by a live orchestra which added to its charm and the show’s ending followed the film version with a rocking rendition of I’m A Believer. And like the film, the musical also featured an array of fairytale characters, such as Pinocchio, the Three Blind Mice, Peter Pan and the Big Bad Wolf, all clad in striking costumes.
There were also cameos of other minor characters including a feline with a penchant for leather footwear.
The most memorable was a 7.5-metre long female dragon puppet, which was brought to life by several men in black. Although she didn’t breathe fire in the musical, she was given a voice instead, where she delivered Forever, a scorching R&B love ode to Donkey.
With its impressive sets, colourful props and fun characters, Shrek The Musical, brought in by Yvents!, made for a pleasant family frolic to the theatre.
Shrek the Musical
When: Today, 3pm & 8pm
Where: Plenary Hall, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
Call 03-22872811 or visit www.ticketspeople.com.
Note: Only children aged 2 years and above will be allowed into the theatre and will require a ticket for admission.