Hello – I’m back from Les Sables d’Olonne, France, having spent the last 18 days driving like a mentalist all over France. I am not sure if you noticed but I have been writing for a yacht race which currently has 17 mad people, sleep deprived and doing crazy shit in the ocean – Follow the Vendée Globe which is a bit like follow the yellow brick road….which superbly links me into a West End musical.
Having been a bad ass mummy, who abandons her children to go and work on a sport that she loves and leaves her children in the care of people who love them, I thought the opportunity to take them to see Shrek the Musical, kindly offered by Corner shop PR, on a school night might go some way towards appeasing them from the distress of me not being around. Although it turns out that they missed me but not enough to actually be distressed. This is excellent news as I am hot hoofing over to Paris to do it again in 10 days time!
It was fairly epic getting from Wiltshire to London but we managed it and with 15 minutes to spare. It was going to be a late one but as I have raised two insomniacs I knew they could handle it. I didn’t really know what to expect as I am not a prolific attendee of West End Musicals. The kids love the Shrek trilogy so I was confident that they would enjoy the show. The Menace is 4 years old and they advise the age limit is 5 years. However, she’s the size of a 7 year old – we breed them tall in our house – and hangs out with her brother, the Grenade a lot and he is 9 years. I was sure she would handle it and indeed she did.
Shrek the Musical is a bit like panto but with a huge splash of #showbiz – JAZZ HANDS!!. The sets are better, the costumes are better, everyone can sing (except Donkey) and they never fluff their lines, which is nice. Taking an animated film and turning it into a stage show is a novel concept and I think they have pulled it off convincingly. Now bearing in mind it’s all bit manic chez moi en ce moment I didn’t have a scoobies who was in it until I read the programme on the way home. I don’t watch Hollyoaks anymore (I mean I did when Gary Luce was in it) and I haven’t watched Eastenders since the days of Dot Cotton.
The Menace was just loving the princess – she is not destined to be a feminist at this rate – she’s all about the prince, love and happy ever after. No doubt she’ll find out the hard way like most of us. I think one of the most charming aspects of the story is that ultimately Princess Fiona ends up fat, green and ugly married to a miserable, ogre who lives in a swamp with a bunch of weirdos for neighbours. Sounds like real life to me
Anyway, I get all goosebumpy when I go somewhere sparkly and they start belting out showtunes. I love all that slightly camp, over done, stage show magic. Shrek the Musical was great and I think it is a perfect Christmas panto experience for all the family. It was funny – with a great farting sequence – and the cast were jazzing their hands like no tomorrow. Lord Farquaad played by Neil McDermott stole the show, although I was completely distracted by watching him shuffle around on his knees – not to mention his encore when he stood up in tights and we got to check out his codpiece – ahem ‘hello Neil!’. He has a dazzling smile and was probably born to be an actor. Although a little google search suggests that you can take the man out of Scouseland but you can’t take the Scouse out of the man. (He’s from Liverpool. It’s more of a play on words then a genuine reflection on the fidelity of the Scouse male. I apologise in advance to non-philandering Scousers for my cheap, sweeping, generalisation.)
Fiona and Shrek were on the money too and delivered performances that matched the screen version. The dragon puppet was awesome but again I was distracted by the puppeteers – it must be an age thing I don’t think the kids noticed.
Landi Oshinowo who sings for the dragon had a fab voice and no doubt she’ll be moving over to The Lion King at some point. Lucy Tapp who played the witch pushed some boundaries with her costume and everytime she came on stage I crossed my fingers that her breasticles didn’t pop out for all and sundry to see.
Donkey was a little disappointing. Now I know that Richard Blackwood has been billing himself as the British version of Eddie Murphy for over a decade and no doubt this great marketing ploy on his part landed him the role. But the truth is that no matter how often Richard Blackwood bills himself as such, he is not the British version of Eddie Murphy by a long way. Maybe it was Monday and he was depressed because it wasn’t a sell out but I think it’s time for him to move over and let the stand in dude take the part. The Grenade thought Donkey was awesome though so hey – what do I know?
To celebrate Christmas, Shrek The Musical has teamed up with youth homelessness charity Centrepoint on their very own version of a well loved Christmas song. So, to make your Christmas party complete, grab a mince pie, some tinsel, turn up the volume and get ready to Rock Around The Christmas Tree…!
They believe in giving homeless young people a future. To donate £2 to Centrepoint’s Christmas appeal, simply text OGRE12 £2 to 70070.
Many thanks to the cast and company of Shrek The Musical, and the brilliant team at CapGun Collective, who gave their time, energy and talent to make this video possible. And thanks to Corner Shop PR for our tickets.
It was a bit of a blog fest – here’s what WitWitWoo thought about it – Shrek Review WitWitWoo