Shrek: The Musical Review

Grand Opera House York – until Saturday 21 September 2019

Reviewed by Marcus Richardson


York has a thriving theatre scene, and York Stage Musicals is one of the big reasons to thank for that. I have now seen a few of their shows and am very rarely disappointed, Shrek did not disappoint whatsoever. Pretty much everyone alive knows and loves the film Shrek, with iconic characters and unforgettable scenes, appealing to both young and old. The musical adaptation of Shrek was well received when it first came to stage, and YSM have certainly done it justice, continuing the legacy.

The cast are made up of actors who have a large background in theatre, and those who dabble in theatre from York area. The principal cast generally had some form of academic training. Nik Briggs, who played the character of Shrek and is also the shows producer, has been involved with YSM for several years, becoming the Artistic Director in 2014. Briggs did a good job with the character, both acting wise and singing, fully encapsulating the role of the loveable ogre. We mustn’t forget his sidekick Donkey, played by Chris Knight, who managed to pull off the Eddie Murphy accent for the whole show, with just the same amount of swagger.

Jacqueline Bell as Fiona, was one of the reasons I loved the show, her vocals were amazing and she created such an hilarious character with just the right amount of sass. Talking about singing, both Emily Ramsden as Dragon, and Alicia Roberts, loved her Gingerbread scenes, also gave stunning performances. Joe Wawrzyniak bought a pantomime feel to the stage with his portrayal of Lord Farquaad. It was so very camp, dastardly and over the top, lovely. Another stand out performer was Sam Rippon, who played Pinocchio. Having been in several YSM shows before, I’ve seen a fair share of him on stage, however I feel like this show really let him shine as the toy who so desperately wanted to be a boy. The whole entire cast did wonderfully though and I’m incredibly impressed with the level of professionalism that they held.

The set is something else, it really felt like we were watching a touring show that isn’t from an ‘Am-Dram’ company, it was so impressive and eye-catching, especially the stained-glass window. The costumes were superb, and so much better than I anticipated, especially Dragon. The only thing that brought the show down was the fact that the band, fab as they were, was just a bit too loud, which meant you couldn’t always hear the singing in some songs, hopefully this is changed in the other performances, but this is a minor niggle.

I’m so glad that York has such a good theatre scene, and this show is one of the reasons why I love it so much. YSM have the reputation of putting on some great shows, but this one is by far the best I’ve seen. This was as good as any professional show, the bar how now been set.

This is obviously is a family show and I would suggest it to anyone, especially those with children, you will not be disappointed. I loved the film and I’m glad that I also loved it on stage, “I’m a Believer”!