Shrek

Date 25th July 2021
Society Retford Musical Theatre Company
Venue The Majestic Theatre, Retford
Type of Production Musical
Director Liz Williams
Musical Director Pete Lack
Choreographer Becca White

Report

Author: Andrew Key


What a strange, unusual experience this was - stepping back inside a theatre for the first time
in so long.
And what better place to be than the wonderful Majestic Theatre in Retford. I am always so
impressed with the standard of work of The MOB and despite all the Covid restrictions,
delays and dramas, this wonderfully talented junior group did not disappoint. And I must start
this review by paying tribute to everyone who took part in the decision to proceed with the
production in the first place It was a very brave thing to do, especially in view of the costs
involved with staging any musical these days. But it was the right decision and everyone rose
to the challenge magnificently.

I was greeted as usual by Retford’s very own Betty Teanby, who has retired after 16 years as
the group’s irrepressible choreographer. Despite being 93 years young, her boundless energy
and enthusiasm match any such energy of people a fraction her age. Her dedication always
has been and always will be a real inspiration to generations of young people in the Retford
area. As President of the MOB’s mentors, Retford Musical Theatre Company, I know she
will always be on hand to offer words of wisdom and unending support.

Shrek is packed full of well known and loved fairytale characters and so an ideal show for
children. The score though is far from easy and I was very impressed with how the cast
managed its complexities. Musical Director Pete Lack brought out the best in everyone and
the sight and sound of a real live band was a joy in itself.

The leading cast members were a very strong and confident bunch. Josh Parker as Shrek,
with a ‘face that launched a thousand insults’, had a lovely, laid back manner and a wonderful
rapport with the audience. He is a very talented singer displaying strong vocals throughout
his many musical numbers.

Fiona’s part was shared through the production by Georgia Pinkerton and Nancy Hudson. It
was Georgia’s turn at the performance I saw and she was fabulous. She looked just like Fiona
in the films. I especially loved her number with the startled bird, it was very funny. There
were some lovely scenes with Shrek and the Donkey. I am reliably informed that Nancy’s
performance was equally as convincing in this iconic role. Well done both of you.

Oscar Pinkerton as Donkey had to cope with a plaster cast on his hoof after an accident, but
this didn’t seem to hold him back. He had some lovely mannerisms and the children adored him.

This ‘talking donkey, a freak of nature’ was a hit and again, a very strong singer. And
Oscar never stopped acting, even when he wasn’t the focus of the action.

The smaller than life Lord Farquaad was played so energetically by Cameron Duffy, on his
knees throughout. I was very impressed with his exceptionally clear vocals, so very important
in live theatre. And Cameron has a larger than life singing voice.

And what an array of fairytale characters, all played so convincingly by the cast. Charlie
Buxton as Pinocchio was a little star. He delivered his lines with impeccable timing, like this
one: ‘ just when you think life can’t get any worse you get evicted from a swamp’. Far from
wooden, Charlie is most definitely one to watch for the future. Very well done!

The comedy of the show was very well delivered. The children in the audience loved the
‘windy’ scene, of course. And there were more subtle laughs too, like the beeping reversing
horse.

Choreographer Becca White, assisted by Beth White, created some lovely set pieces,
including the ensemble ‘Story of My Life’ and the beautiful tap routine with the talented Ben
Marsh as the Pied Piper and accompanying dancers. This routine was a real highlight of the
show and demonstrated the importance of dance in any production.

Costumes under Carolyn White’s leadership were so vibrant and effective. And I’m told the
group made their own prosthetics too! Well done.

Lighting, sound and stage management all came together to create a really magical setting for
the action. The company coped so well with a set designed for a much larger space and I’m
sure the stage team, under the Stage Management of Elaine Shaw, developed muscles they
didn’t know they had through the seamless scene changes.

And I must pay tribute to the army of chaperones who looked after the children so well
throughout.

So congratulations to everyone in the Society for having the courage to press on with this
show, despite everything Covid could throw at it. Chairman Carolyn White and the
Committee should be very proud of themselves. Liz Williams directed a full on, no corners
cut show, showcasing the very best of this talented youth section. Without exception, well
done everyone.