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BWW Review: SHREK THE MUSICAL at Dingbat Theatre Project is Pure Entertainment

Runs through May 15

BWW Review: SHREK THE MUSICAL at Dingbat Theatre Project is Pure Entertainment

In a time where many theatres have struggled to survive, there is a new face in our community that is reimagining theatre during these unusual times. Dingbat Theatre Project is currently in production of "Shrek the Musical," held at the outdoor theatre at The Bazaar on Apricot. The company has taken and innovative approach to a well-known show to produce what can only be described as pure entertainment.

Dingbat Theatre Project has made the most of its space. Using scaffolding for levels as well as for the crux of the set. The have taken the traditional cast size of 20-30 one would normally see in Shrek and produced the show with only 8 performers, all of whom take on varied roles including the leads.

"Shrek the Musical" with music by Jeanine Tesori and book by David Lindsay-Abaire is the tale of an ogre who must save Princess Fiona with the help of his fearless donkey sidekick so that she may be wed to the evil and large in personality not in size Lord Farquaad. The story explores true love and the beauty and ugliness that lies inside each one of us.

Under the direction of Luke Manual McFatrich who also portrayed the Dragon and various ensemble characters, this talented cast took several liberties that enhanced the story especially for those familiar with the musical. It is the choices that the actors made throughout the story that truly brought the show to new heights. Each one exerted maximum energy and made each character larger than life which is sometimes lacking in this production. However, this cast went above and beyond to engage its audience and provide a truly entertaining experience. McFatrich was the perfect example of this as he brought each character he played to life in a way that drew your attention to him at every turn.

Cory Woomert was polorazing as Shrek, who conveyed his character without the use of the traditional Shrek-style costume. Woomert was steadfast and vulnerable as he displayed the complex set of emotions that our hero grappled with as part of his normally isolated life. Woomert exhibited great vocal strength and truly enhanced the development of all the characters in the story.

Alyssa Goudy's portrayal of Fiona truly sparked the story. Goudy was exuberant and was not afraid to take the character to levels others before her may have avoided. Fiona has been trapped in a castle her entire life. This has to have had a mental impact on the character and Goudy did a great job showing us the extremes of her captivity and the wishes she spent years hoping would come to pass. Her role was a perfect compliment to Woomert.

Lord Farquaad was played by the show's choreographer, Brian Finnerty. The role requires a multifaceted approach and to this end Finnerty did not disappoint. His comedic timing was spot on and honestly, he was having so much fun on stage he probably never wants the show to end. He fully embraces the character while making distinct choices that made the role his own. In addition to his high-energy choreography, Finnerty fulfilled every sensation one could possibly hope to experience when coming to see a show.

Derric Gobourne Jr. was hilarious as Donkey. He takes center stage whenever possibly all while enhancing his fellow castmates. It is easy to overstep this magnanimous role, but Gobourne just seized the opportunity to electrify the audience while solidifying this amazingly talented group of performers.

Dingbat's production of "Shrek the Musical" is unlike any Shrek you have seen before. This is fitting for the times we live in. Sarasota has embraced "The show must go on" in a whole new way this past year. So, don't miss your opportunity to experience live theatre that will surely leave you with a smile on your face.

"Shrek the Musical" runs through May 15th. Tickets and more information can be found at www.dingbattheatre.org.


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