Shrek the Musical

Date 16th May 2019
Society COS Musical Theatre
Venue The Hawth, Crawley
Type of Production Musical
Director John Harries-Rees
Musical Director Dan Lacey
Choreographer Helen Heppell & Anika Lefevre


Author: Jose Harrison

This version of Shrek was set traditionally with cleverly designed costumes across the entire cast. Although there was an abundance of pantomime characters in the production there was never a moment when this show became pantomime orientated, the story line and the many musical numbers being the most important part of the production. A special mention has to go to the costume and make-up department for creating fantastic characters that stood out from the very beginning. Set in similar circumstances to that of the hit movie, Lord Farquar with his band of soldiers chases all the fairytale characters into the forest where they end up in the swamp where Shrek lives. Shrek and his new friend Donkey are persuaded to go and meet Farquar and fight their cause but are talked into rescuing a certain Princess so that Farquar can marry her.

Tom Paine played Shrek. This was an outstanding performance with a great accent which was maintained throughout. He was a loveable ‘Ogre’ but held his own personality and wouldn’t be pushed around. His singing was brilliant, especially in ‘Big Bright Beautiful World’ and ‘Who I’d be’, the closing number of Act One which he sang with Donkey and Princess Fiona.

Dean Garnham played Donkey. This was another outstanding performance but for very different reasons. Donkey’s singing was also excellent but for me the joy was watching him on stage, his movements, reactions and facial expressions. His own personal interpretation of ‘Don’t Let Me Go’ was so heart warming that he must have captured the audience’s affection instantly.

Kirsty Franks played Princess Fiona. She had troubles of her own having had a witches curse put on her which turned her into an ogre as soon as it got dark and changed her back again at dawn. A kiss from the one she loved would prevent this happening. Kirsty did well with the comedy scenes, sang with great feeling but showed her fiery temper when thwarted. I loved the song ‘I Know it’s Today’ sung by the three ages of the princess, young, teens and grown up.

Jonny Jones played Lord Farquaad. This character was very cleverly thought out and brilliantly executed. He had great diction and projection and his ability to move around the stage, get down off seats and even mount his horse was remarkable. He was superb!!

There were too many characters to mention them all by name but this clever script allows each person their own chance to shine.  The rat sequence was great fun and well performed, the dragon was spectacular and very well handled and the dancers and ensemble all sang and performed well. What a great show. I loved every minute of it.