Shrek the Musical

Date 12th March 2020
Society Paisley Musical & Operatic Society
Venue Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Type of Production Musical
Director Blair Ledgerwood-Cruikshank
Musical Director Sean Stirling
Choreographer Greg Robertson


Author: Craig Inglis

As one of the newest shows on the am-dram circuit, a show of Shrek’s scale brings with it a lot of expectation from the audience who most, if not all, have seen the film.  A further challenge is transferring the magic from screen to stage, especially in a big theatre setting like the Theatre Royal Glasgow.  With that said it was a challenge that PMOS took on, revelled in and executed remarkably well.  From the club’s management team, production team, through all backstage departments and finally the cast, it was evident that everyone was passionate, focused and working hard on this production.  I can confidently vouch for this as it was evident from meeting the club backstage for their annual NODA award evening and feeling the emotion and bond.  The production team of Blair, Sean and Greg worked their magic once again in bringing the show to life and I have no doubt that their enthusiasm was a catalyst for what transferred to the stage.  Their staging, use of the large set pieces, lighting, special effects, energetic choreography and impressive vocals all complimented each other to fill the stage and auditorium with the magic and fantasy of the show.  All backstage workers behind the scenes really should be congratulated, with special mentions to the costume and make-up teams who had exceptional jobs to do getting the cast on stage and managing the constant quick costume and make-up changes.  The hard work and effort backstage was an attitude carried onto the performances on stage.  A powerhouse ensemble cast gave strong performances throughout the show capturing fairy-tale characters, Duloc villagers, knights, guards and dancing rats.  In a report this scale I can’t name everyone individually and don’t want to single people out, as it very much as a team effort, so I would pass on a huge heartfelt congratulations to every member of the ensemble for their limitless energy, enthusiasm and talent.  Leading the ensemble were a fantastic principal line up.  Johnny Collins executed the role of Shrek brilliantly with his impressive vocals, strong characterisation and cheeky comedy timing.  All while coping with a large costume and complex prosthetics.   As we follow the story of Shrek’s journey to save his swamp from an influx of fairy-tale creatures, we meet who will become Shrek’s trusty side-kick Donkey.  Ross Pollock used a fantastic accent, comedy timing and agile physicality to bring Donkey to life.  He was a firm favourite with the audience and the relationship he and Johnny brought to their characters journeys was great.  A detour in the plan to save the swamp is introduced by Lord Farquaad who although is the “baddie” of the piece, you can’t help but love.  Ross Nicol was just excellent.  Spending the show in a costume that requires him to be on his knees for the entire show, apart from a few dance moves, is a task in itself and this was flawless.  The comedy Ross brought to the role was fantastic and had the audiences in stiches even before delivering a line.  Lord Farquaad’s detour leads Shrek and Donkey to meeting, what will become the loves of their lives, Princess Fiona and Dragon.  An example of pure comedy genius was the performance delivered by Zoe McFadyen as Princess Fiona.  Zoe’s beautiful voice, impeccable comic timing and extensive characterisation was a joy.  In particular her facial expressions were just perfection and captured every emotion the character experienced.  In the song “I Know it’s Today” Zoe was joined by members of the younger cast; Emma McConnachie (Young Fiona) and Alannah Pollock (Teen Fiona). Both girls gave mature, strong and notable performances, and I am sure the girls on the alternate nights would have been equally excellent.  The character of Dragon was voiced by Lindsey Ross who used her powerful, controlled and impressive voice to master the songs Dragon performed and seemed to do this with natural ease.  Bringing this character to the stage also required a group of 5 operators, who along with clever lighting effects immersed the audience into the magic of this character.  A musical comedy filled with laughter, lovable romance and fun, Shrek was a success from start to finish.  To repeat what I said to the club at their presentation after the show, the club is going from strength to strength which is great to see, and this fantastic show was a beautiful, glittery gum drop button on a lovely ginger bread man which represents the entire PMOS family.