Shrek, Edinburgh Playhouse *** Fiona and ogre reunited in this hit musical

You really can’t diss Shrek - the big grumpy Scottish ogre with a soft heart is, after all, one of us.
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This theatre version follows the hit film as faithfully as Donkey follows in Shrek’s trails, right down to recreating some of its famous lines. It has pretty much everything from the smash hit move, except the soundtrack - and that’s the difference.

The stage musical is great fun, and gives us a whole new back story to Shrek and Princess Fiona, but it songs don’t have the same wow factor. When they are good, they are very good - and there are several powerhouse numbers across both acts - but few become ear worms, and there is a lot of narrative to digest in the lyrics.

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That said, the cast all sparkle in their roles with Joanne Clifton giving us a feisty Fiona as a foil for a softer more vulnerable Shrek, played so well by Antony Lawrence. He’s not as scary as the film version, and so we get a more tender story between the two as they find more in common than perhaps they expected.

Shrek The Musical is at the Playhouse until SaturdayShrek The Musical is at the Playhouse until Saturday
Shrek The Musical is at the Playhouse until Saturday

Brandon Lee Sears zaps huge energy into the show as Donkey - he could have done with more sharp one liners to maker it really zing - while James Gillan gives us a camp and witty Lord Farquaad - arguably the character most changed from the film. Cherece Richards’ vocals as the Dragon were stunning, easily the highlight of the big numbers.

The show packs a lot of story telling into act one, and it needs the infusion of Donkey’s energy to get it fully going, while act two is sharper all round. The sets were smart but the projected background seemed fuzzy, or maybe it was just my eyes.

Shrek The Musical was fun, the dance numbers all slick and impressive and there is much to commend it, but it needed that burst of The Proclaimers ‘I’m On My Way’ or a similar big number to fully ignite.

> Shrek: The Musical is at the Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh until Saturday. Tickets at https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/shrek-the-musical/edinburgh-playhouse/

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