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“Heartwarming and hilarious” – Reviewing Shrek the Musical at Hull New Theatre

I had the pleasure of seeing the touring production of Shrek the Musical at Hull New Theatre last night, and although having heard good things I was a little apprehensive that I may not enjoy it as much as I expected to – I was wrong.

The tale unfolds with our beloved green ogre, Shrek (portrayed brilliantly by Antony Lawrence), who finds his solitary swamp existence interrupted by a slew of fairytale creatures banished to his land by Lord Farquaad (played hilariously by James Gillan). To reclaim his home, Shrek embarks on a quest to rescue Princess Fiona (Joanne Clifton) from a tower, guarded by a fire-breathing dragon. Along the way, he encounters the lovably chatty Donkey (Brandon Lee Sears), who becomes his loyal companion, and provides lighthearted comedy throughout.

The set design is fantastic, with storybook elements projected onto the screen, morphing seamlessly along with the narrative. From the bustling town of Duloc to the mystical forest where Shrek and Donkey journey, every scene is brought to life with whimsical detail and vibrant colours, truly immersing the audience in the fairytale world.

The music of Shrek the Musical is a delightful fusion of toe-tapping numbers and heartfelt ballads, composed by Jeanine Tesori with lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire. From the rousing “Big Bright Beautiful World” to the touching “I Know It’s Today,” each song adds depth and emotion to the story, enhancing the magical journey unfolding on stage.

James Gillan’s performance as Lord Farquaad is a scene-stealer, with his impeccable comedic timing and over-the-top antics earning uproarious laughter from the audience. His dynamic interactions with the other characters, especially Shrek and Donkey, are a highlight of the show. And Brandon Lee Sears’s portrayal of Donkey is a masterclass in physical comedy and charm, winning over hearts with his irresistible charisma and infectious enthusiasm.

But beyond the laughter and spectacle, Shrek the Musical carries a timeless message about acceptance, friendship, and the power of being true to yourself. It’s a heartwarming and hilarious journey that will delight audiences of all ages, leaving them with smiles on their faces and songs in their hearts long after the final curtain falls. So gather your family and friends and prepare to be whisked away to a land of fairytales and adventure – Shrek the Musical is an experience not to be missed!

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