Shrek the Musical Review

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – until 8 December 2018 

Reviewed By Jo and Harry Gordon


Shrek the film is a firm family favourite in the Gordon household so we were looking forward to seeing the Green Hero doing his thing on the big stage. Shrek premiered on Broadway back in 2008 and has been delighting audiences ever since.

Now Shrek has turned the grand old age of seven his parents turn him out to find his way in the big wide world, finding the perfect swamp for an Ogre, Shrek settles down to his new life. One day it becomes over run by an eclectic mix of fairytale folk who have been sent to find him by Lord Farquaad, the vertically challenged leader of Dulcoc. Farquaad sends Shrek off into yonder to find and rescue the woman he wishes to marry to enable him to become the King of Dulcoc. Armed with a suit of armour, a sword and an over excitable Donkey at his side, will Shrek complete the quest and save the day?

The production has everything a young (and old) audience enjoy. Show tunes, dance numbers, jokes that have many levels, romance and of course the much loved and favoured fart scenes – much to the delight of the younger crowd. The four main characters bounce off each other incredibly well which makes it nice and easy to watch.

Steffan Hari has the character of Shrek nailed down perfectly, he gives him a large presence as is fit for an ogre but shows his more vulnerable side and is a less angry Shrek than you see in the film. At times I did struggle to understand the odd line said in Shrek’s infamous accent but soon fell into the rhythm. Shrek’s crazy sidekick, Donkey, is played by Marcus Ayton who is full of the energy and  comic timing needed to carry the character off and adds his own dimension to the hooved comic we all love. Princess Fiona needs to have a strong heart yet show a softer, insecure side brought on by her hidden secret, Laura Main has  achieved this and then flew with it! Playing Fiona with a kooky edge really adds another dimension to the character. My personal favourite was Lord Farquaad  played by Samuel Holmes. Dry humoured and full of short guy rage he had me chuckling the most. Every time he entered the stage with his hilarious little legs I laughed longer and louder than those around me, maybe I feel where he’s coming from being vertically challenged myself! On a whole, the whole ensembles singing voices can not be faulted and it all ends with a rousing, audience participating I’m A Believer to round off an entertaining production.

A fantastic family show showing us diversity isn’t a bad thing and love conquers all above everything else……and I think we are all needed to be reminded of that from time to time.