Review: SHREK THE MUSICAL at The Weston Theater Company

Touring throughout Vermont June 22 - July 10

By: Jun. 27, 2022
Review: SHREK THE MUSICAL at The Weston Theater Company

The summer heat in Weston was no match for the high-energy performance of Shrek The Musical on Saturday. From quick costume changes, dance numbers, and harmonized singing, the cast and crew did not let the sun stop them from having a good time and performing for a wide array of ages on the lawn of Walker Farm. This show is a traveling summer production, with Weston's Young Company performing around Vermont through July 10th.

With the classic Dreamworks movie retold as a kid-friendly musical, this story of embracing yourself, relying on friends, and allowing yourself to love, was full of silly jokes and flatulence. But, from the first moment, the cast was ready to entertain and tell the story and let the characters' personalities shine through.

With Eli Hamilton as the title character, Shrek, we are taken on an emotional rollercoaster that is acted with both subtleness and animation that allows even the younger audience members to pick up on how Shrek grapples with his changing circumstances. When a grumpy ogre greets the audience with an invitation to leave his swamp, we are dropped right into the scene, and the pace continues throughout the show.

Review: SHREK THE MUSICAL at The Weston Theater Company When Shrek encounters Donkey, played by Tomias Robinson, the banter, humor, and story pick up and take us off on the journey with the characters. Robinson's portrayal of Donkey is endearing, fun, and a joy to watch. Fortunately, the heat was no match for the physical comedy and dramatic conversations that Shrek and Donkey have together.

The costume designs, envisioned by Lily Prentice, are inventive and well thought out; often, the reveal of each character is met with a chuckle as the small company takes on numerous roles throughout the performance. Review: SHREK THE MUSICAL at The Weston Theater Company From the Gingerbread person, Gingy, played by Bryanna Cuthill; to Pinocchio, played by Anthony Bologna; and of course, to Lord Farquaad's costume, played by Tommy Bergeron; each is designed with wit and humor. As one can imagine, the entrance of Lord Farquaad into the scene is a moment that surprises and delights the audience. Likewise, the performance by Bergeron is a complete embodiment of the character.

Additionally, the return of veteran Young Company cast member, Emma Diner as Fiona, was an excellent portrayal of the feisty, intelligent, and conflicted princess. With her and other cast members, voices echoing off of Weston's mountains, the music was fun, fast-paced, and entertaining. In particular, the duet between Fiona and Shrek, "I Think I Got You Beat", had moments of equal tenderness and humor that made this an enjoyable show.

At times, one hoped for microphones for some of the lines, as sound often does not have a lot to bounce off of in the outdoors. But the vocal strength of the entire cast was apparent in each musical number.

Overall, it was a fun and humorous show, and the warm temperatures might have had the audience wilting, but the production showed no signs of slowing due to the elements.

Photo Credit: Hubert Schriebl and The Weston Theater Company