I don’t’ know how many times I’ve stated it. I don’t consider myself a fan of musicals. That being said, I certainly see a lot of them and often times I end up enjoying them. Seeing as how I’ve had Princess on my business card for the last 6 ½ years, I have a hard time with the fact that I haven’t reconciled why I feel “embarrassed” about the following statement; I really enjoyed Shrek, The Musical.
The positive mood was definitely set with the audience. I adored hearing kids of all ages bursting with anticipation before the show even started. It was great to hear them laughing and applauding enthusiastically throughout the entire 2 ½ hour show alongside the adults (though sometimes at very different jokes.) And…BEHAVING properly. I’ll say it, the kids that seemed to make up at least a third of Tuesday’s audience were better behaved than most adults in most theatres I have sat in. Parents, family, friends, whoever you are, thank you for “training” your children to love the performing arts and to appreciate them considerately. This will serve them SO well in SO many ways.
For fans of the movie, the musical has all your favorite characters (represented in very creative ways), some of the same lines even, and as an added bonus, some added back stories. It also has layers and morals and will appeal to most if not all age groups. One part Disney, one part Beavis & Butthead, and one part theatre class this was a really nice combination of fairytale, bathroom humor, and a peek behind the scenes of stage craft. Like that magician who exposed the world how some famous illusions were accomplished, there were plenty of moments where the “spell” was broken and I found that charming and smart. I wonder how many of those kids would have flipped at a chance for a backstage tour. How many of them are that much more interested in participating in the creation of arts knowing that it’s not ALL 100% magic…or rather is an attainable kind of magic that is participatory?
The music wasn’t particularly memorable but, very enjoyable in the moment. The talent was undeniable; smooth, flawless execution in the delivery of jokes, vocals, and choreography. There’s a crude, sarcastic, goofy, silly, tongue-and-cheek narrative that you warm up to after the first 15 minutes. My best advice, just don’t over analyze, simply enjoy.
I am inherently against giving away any surprises but, I will say there was an unexpected minute or so in the second half where I was laughing hard enough to actually produce a tear. Not so much because the event was so funny but, more out of disbelief at what I was witnessing. Most excellent.
On a completely personal note, I think there’s no getting around the fact that I kind of loved the fact that a goofy, red-headed Princess is such a central character to this piece. Yeah, there’s that big green ogre, but there’s also Fiona and I caught myself “responding” when Shrek refers to her as just “Princess.” The “hey that’s me” factor just doesn’t get old if you are young at heart.
In summary, this is a magical experience for the family (and the kid inside us all.) It would be a great first exposure to theatre and it would certainly be a great 2nd, 10th, or 100th. I was sincerely impressed and Shrek gets an easy 4 out of 5 jewels in the tiara. Shrek runs through this Sunday only.