Review Roundup: SHREK THE MUSICAL Makes its West End Debut!

Produced by DreamWorks Theatricals and Neal Street Productions, SHREK THE MUSICAL is based on the story and characters from William Steig's book Shrek! and the Oscar-winning original Dreamworks Animation feature film Shrek, the first chapter in the series of irreverent fairy tales. Tickets  are on sale for performances until February 19, 2012.

SHREK THE MUSICAL played on Broadway from December 2008 to January 2010 and was nominated for eight Tony Awards, winning Tim Hatley the Tony Award for Best Costume Design of a Musical. The original creative team has now re-assembled to stage the production with new songs and additional scenes. SHREK THE MUSICAL is playing at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and officially opens tonight, June 14, 2011. Did the critics feel the magic of this fairytale? Find out now!

Charles Spencer, The Telegraph: And brash, noisy and full of fart jokes though it is, Shrek will undoubtedly appeal to adults as well as children...It combines an attractive tongue-tied romance with a celebration of lovable losers and odd-bods and David Lindsay-Abaire's book and lyrics have a welcome sense of mischief about them. At its best Jeanine Tesori's score recalls the great soul music of the 1960s and ends with the bubblegum bliss of the Monkees' I'm a Believer.

Quentin Letts, The Daily Mail: I suspect 20-somethings will extract the most fun from this show. It is cheeky, colourful, camp, shafted by Simpsons-style irony...One touch which captures well the show's wit is when Farquaad perches on a vast white charger, which he names Spearmint Rhino. Sentiment, beauty and haunting melody are absent. But Shrek is energetically amusing.

Michael Billington, The Guardian: Although Shrek stems from the 2001 DreamWorks film, it is genuinely theatrical, generous-spirited and mercifully free of the sensory bombardment that afflicts some of its rivals. What it lacks is memorable tunes...It's an amiable, well-crafted show that puts you in a pleasant frame of mind and that will fill a gap in the family market. But I was still left pining for that moment of ecstasy that is the musical's chief justification.

Paul Taylor, The Independent: What I love principally about the show, directed with great charm and elating zip by Jason Moore and Rob Ashford, is its delightfully uncynical freshness of spirit...Shrek The Musical is a glorious tease, fielding tap-dancing Pied Piper rats and prisoners hand-jiving through wooden stocks. It's genuinely moving, too, in the way it resolves, because love prompts Princess Fiona to accept her ugly ogre side rather than through the usual transformation of plainness into dazzling good looks.

Michael Coveney, What's On Stage: Holden performs with perfect poise, true vocal technique and an appealing, steely edge...But, at the end of the day, it all feels a bit, well, small and childish in the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, this famous bastion of the greatest musical theatre of our time, especially with a tacked-on feelgood finale (as in the movie) of the Monkees' "I'm a Believer", which, in live performance, exerts a karaoke effect to finish the night.

Maxie Szalwinska, Metro: The production has traces of charm, largely thanks to Amanda Holden's gutsy Fiona, who has spent years waiting for a prince with shiny armour and teeth. But there's not much romance here and not a whole lot of comedy, either, though tap-dancing rats liven things up and it's fleetingly funny when Shrek and Fiona burp and fart at each other as a form of courtship.

William Russell, The Herald: The Oscar-winning cartoon film was witty, inventive and highly entertaining, whereas this raucous, tuppence-coloured stage musical is a ragbag of old ideas lifted from better shows. In this theatre, home to some of the greatest musicals, it really is a cuckoo in the nest.


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