Review: Shrek The Musical at Wales Millennium Centre

Take a trip to a land Far, Far, Away of a an evening of pure energy and fun filled laughter – Shrek the Musical is at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff and it’s bigger and brighter than ever! This outstanding production is so much more than just a live version of the hit DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture.

Being a fans of the films ( like everyone else ), we were eager to see how a story with ogres, talking donkeys, flying dragons, swamps, and castles would translate to the stage. From the get-go, it was evident that this show doesn’t skimp on developing characters we already love. They manage to add an extra layer and connection with the audience that even the films couldn’t achieve.

A surprising depth came from exploring Lord Farquaad’s backstory, delving into his daddy issues, and revealing a softer side to the villain. It turns out even the bad guys have their own struggles.

Princess Fiona’s first number was another standout moment. They gave her a musical piece that provided an interesting perspective on her time in the tower. A collection of three different ages of the princes on one stage, each belting out a tune about their time in the tower. It felt like a musical time machine, with harmonies that gave you goosebumps. Joanne Clifton’s incredible vocal talent and the emotional journey from optimism to doubt added a real incite to Fiona’s character.

These onion layers of character development elevated Shrek the Musical to a whole new level. It wasn’t just a fairy tale romp; it was a journey of self-discovery, understanding, and a sprinkle of magic. Who would’ve thought a green ogre and a donkey could make myself an fully grown man and my 9 year old daughter laugh, cry, and reflect on life all in one night?

The cast of Shrek the Musical UK and Ireland Tour 2023-4 Photography Credit Marc Brenner

The key to this success is the mind-blowingly talented cast. I’m not just talking about the main characters; the entire ensemble and swing cast had their moments to shine, and boy did they shine.

Let’s talk about Antony Lawrence as Shrek. He nailed it! Bringing that grumpy-yet-lovable ogre to life, I can’t help but root for him on his journey to save Princess Fiona, just to get some peace in his swamp. something i could definitely relate to.

Joanne Clifton as Princess Fiona was all sass and chatty charm you want from the Character. Her voice brought astonishing depth, and the chemistry with Shrek was on point. It’s a fairy tale, and we all want that fairy tale ending.

Brandon Lee Sears as Donkey. This guy had the audience in stitches from start to finish. His energy was through the roof, and his banter with Shrek was comedy gold. I couldn’t stop laughing every time he spoke.

A special mention to Georgie Buckland who played the elf and the voice of the Gingerbread man, both hysterically funny and vocally amazing as she performs the put-upon puppet Gingerbread Man song perfectly, leaving me gobsmacked with her talent.

Brandon Lee Sears (Donkey) and Antony Lawrence Photography Credit Marc Brenner

The entire show was a rollercoaster of laughs, catchy tunes, and surprising heart. The set design was something that took me by surprise, transporting us to the magical land of Far Far Away, with clever video projection taking us on a real-time journey with Shrek and Donkey. And the costumes? should i say costume changes! Some of the fastest changes I’ve ever seen, at one point i lost count how many people were in the production. In the last scene, when Fiona takes on her true form of love, you witness her change from princess to big green ogre in a matter of seconds.

It’s hard to imagine kids won’t be won over by the brightly colourful moving set, the larger-than-life characters or the sheer number of fart jokes. For older audience members who grew up on the film hoping for a trip down memory lane, it delivers the moments you know and love and even offers a little more to the characters which think is a nice touch.

So, if you’re looking for a night of pure, lighthearted fun and a break from reality to a lad Far, Far Away, then Shrek the Musical is the magical ticket you need. Trust me, you’ll leave the Wales Millennium Centre with a big goofy grin on your face, toe tapping to i’m a believer, just like I did.

Shrek the musical is here until the 25th November with tickets starting from £17.50 available from the WMC Box Office


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