REVIEW: Shrek The Musical, Opera House, Blackpool

Steffan Harri and Amelia Lily as Shrek and FionaSteffan Harri and Amelia Lily as Shrek and Fiona
Steffan Harri and Amelia Lily as Shrek and Fiona
In the week of a royal wedding, as Harry and Meghan count down to their big day, Shrek tells a story of fairytale romance.

While Harry and Meghan’s story could become a Hollywood movie in years to come, Shrek’s path to true love with a princess who, on the surface, may not be quite perfect, has already played out on the big screen.

The musical is based on the hit Dreamworks animation, and relies on the same colourful storybook characters, but adds a much stronger message of acceptance in to the mix adding an even greater feel-good vibe to the night.

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* IN PICTURES: Shrek The Musical, starring Steffan Harri and Amelia LilyHappy in his swampy solitude, Shrek does a deal with the diminutive Lord Farquaad to regain his home when the latter banishes all the ‘fairytale freaks’ from Duloc.

The Fairytale 'freaks'The Fairytale 'freaks'
The Fairytale 'freaks'

En route to find Princess Fiona, and bring her to marry Farquaad, the ogre meets Donkey, his instant new BFF.

Steffan Harri in the title role is warm and charming, while X Factor runner up Amelia Lily is a fun and feisty Fiona, but it’s Samuel Holmes and Marcus Ayton as the Lord and Donkey who make the most of their chances to shine, both bringing brilliant comic timing and great energy to the stage.

Like other movie-to-musical adaptations of recent years, like Legally Blonde, the basic story is enhanced no end by the musical additions, bringing a fresh outlook to the tale.

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There’s not a weak song in the show; ensemble number Freak Flag reinforces the moral message that runs throughout, although I wasn’t sure about the use of puppets in the Princess’s main song I Know It’s Today, having seen a better staging in previous productions.

Marcus Ayton as Donkey in Shrek The MusicalMarcus Ayton as Donkey in Shrek The Musical
Marcus Ayton as Donkey in Shrek The Musical

It was refreshing to see the Opera House stalls packed with so many children; using a familiar story to introduce them to the wonder of live theatre makes this a perfect production for a family-focussed resort.

The show’s a real feast for the eyes too, as well as providing the perfect mix of humour to appeal to all ages, from toilet gags to cheeky innuendo.

Shrek The Musical is a full-on fairytale romp, through friendship, romance and disfunctional families, and you can’t help leave the Opera House ogre-joyed and with a great big smile on your face.

Until Sunday, May 28

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