Shrek: The Musical
August 14 – September 21, 2008
Never fear, your wait is at an end. Shrek: The Musical is at long last here; really, really. Brian D’Arcy James (Shrek) delivers a bog-tastic performance, bringing a fully new take on the character. He’s still Shrek, no doubt about it, but he’s his own Shrek, not “bogged” down in the least by an attempt to mimic the fabulous Mike Myers. This Shrek has it all: the green, the ears, the accent and the temper—and, of course, the “better out than in” farts. Perhaps one of the funniest numbers of the show, “I Think I Got You Beat,” showcases this memorable ability in a competition with the Princess Fiona (Sutton Foster). Their gaseous, methane-infused contest is the beginning of true love, aided - as it must be - by the irrepressible Donkey (Chester Gregory). Foster brings
Fiona to life with wit and slightly neurotic charm, captivating both the audience and Shrek’s heart.
Of course, not everything is fun and farting in the
Whenever an audience enters the
The music (Jeanine Tesori), book and lyrics (David Lindsay-Abaire) don’t make any attempt to force the well-loved film onto a Broadway-bound stage. They take the time to make a real adaptation of the story, not just the script. On stage, the story is told in close to seventy-five percent song with as little dialogue as is necessary. Similarly, the ever-awkward film quotes are kept to a wonderful minimum, which allows the audience to stay with the story at hand without getting caught up comparing what they’re seeing to what they remember. For example, the gleeful pop-culture references in the films are here translated to sly nods to musicals (among the many: Hair, Wicked, A Chorus Line, The Lion King).
Director Jason Moore joins some old friends (John Tartaglia – Pinocchio, The Magic Mirror - among them) to bring this show to life. Working with a play so self-referentially scripted is not always a simple task, but
When this production transfers to Broadway, it probably won’t be this year’s massive hit or sweep the Tony awards. But this play—an incredible evening of all-ages, fairy-tale humor—knows exactly what it is, and plays to its strong points perfectly.
Review by Nigel Andrews and Lia Morgan