Shrek the musical doesn’t disappoint

The Orpheus Musical Theatre Society’s Shrek the Musical was a fun twist on an iconic childhood classic that reached a diverse audience.

For those who have never seen Shrek in its original glory, the play was a rendition of a traditional princess movie. The plot follows Princess Fiona (Vivian Melsness), a feisty young woman who has been locked in a tower awaiting her knight in shining armor. However, in this case, the knight that came to the rescue was an irritable ogre (Justin Hills) and his annoying yet lovable donkey (Damien Broomes), with the only incentive to get his beloved swamp back which has been overrun by rejected fairytale creatures by Lord Farquaad (Rejean Dinelle-Mayer).

Clearly, the standard was set high, but it’s safe to say it was met. The play followed the script of the original movie relatively well, keeping with the most well-known lines from the film, but also adding a touch of originality through its musical performances and its playful edge, with added lines such as “he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew down our condos” from the three little pigs, and “first, take a right at the lady in the weird shoe, and a left at the Tim Hortons,” from Shrek.

The show was very well cast. However, the very sassy and comedic Donkey, whose exceptional voice stood out in the musical scenes, became a quick fan favourite from the start.

The rest of the characters were all also very talented, from the cross-dressing Big Bad Wolf, the self-depreciating Pinocchio, to Lord Farquaad, who amused the audience with his clever costume design, especially during dancing scenes. Not to leave out the ingenious set design, which generated collective approval from the audience with quick scene changes, strobe lights, sound effects, and a giant dragon slithering across the stage.

An interesting element of the play was its musical score, as many of its songs were hilarious. Simple dance choreography gave it a charming, if not childish atmosphere. Although the cast’s strong vocals stood out, the actual lyrics took the spotlight. Whether it was a sing-off between Shrek and Fiona debating who had the worst childhood, or Pinocchio pitifully claiming how his life was filled with despair, it kept a light and joking tone that allowed for a family-friendly appreciation.

The finale-and what I would consider a highlight of the play-was met with what could only be described as a parent-approved rave, with a descending disco ball, strobe lights, Shrek shooting prizes into the crowd, and Smash Mouth’s “I’m a Believer” blasting throughout the theatre. It was, in my opinion, the only way to properly end.

Although the show was filled with families with small children and seniors, it was and would be enjoyable for anyone who grew up loving Shrek. Overall, the production was very well done, bringing a refreshing approach to a DreamWorks classic.