Oh Heck....It's Shrek!

Get Your Wigle On

Shrek The Musical

Theatre Severn

5th February- 9th February

(Matinee Saturday 2 p.m. & Sunday 1 p.m.)

The year was 2001 and we were all in a brand new century expecting brand new things. In cinema we got Shrek. A sweeping success, it gave just the right amount of irreverent humour to win its way into the very psyche of the British population. Sarcasm and Irony were the key component and we were amazed. Many years have passed and many sequels came too and we went on loving the Jolly Green Ogre with his own ear wax candles!

However when all that was going on the show writers saw the opportunities going begging and Shrek the Musical was born. Is it as good as the film? Well that is impossible to say because it is far too subjective, what one can reveal is that all the humour, sarcasm, irony of all those hilarious film characters is all still there.

Director Ross Wigley never ceasing to amaze, has put together a great extravaganza employing his skills and talents as Choreographer and Director. He also put in a great performance as Donkey but more of that later.

Firstly one notices the set, although it was a hired in affair, it is great and works perfectly well and fulfills everything  demanded of it. One struggled to see without all the luxury of space and scenery that is available to an animator how it might as a show, convert and fit onto the stage. The set is such that it does just that, it looked delightful, professional and fitted the T7 stage just perfectly. With the clever use of flies and an army of scene shifters the aesthetic of the show was indeed very pleasing.

With Theatre Severn providing the sound for the performance and “Get your Wigle On,” creating the lighting plan the whole mis-en-scene looked excellent. There are just so many lighting and sound cues one feels that it is a busy show for the techies, but I am sure they will cope excellently over the next six performances to come. Costumes were hired in too and what a great spend. The show is dressed expertly and there are some really nice little costume jokes. Lord Farquad is absolutely hilarious, one of the funniest things to appear on that stage for a while. People were quite beside themselves, hysterically laughing at the diminutive, would be suitor.

So it goes without saying that GYWO have understood the script, the pathos and the laughs and they play each one just as they should be played. James Broxton’s Pinocchio stands out, he was never off duty. Acting is about Re-acting also, one couldn’t help but notice just how good he was and what a brilliant performance was being given. Ross Wigley’s Donkey was so good that even for this reviewer to find enough superlatives would be a struggle. The performance was flawless.

George Hargrave was on duty tonight playing Shrek. He alternates with a player called James Archer, if James’s performance is anything like George’s, and one imagines it will be, then James will be great too. George played a great Shrek and even though he is an ogre, we all very much love the foibled character. That might well be the reason for it’s popularity. The underdog wins the day and we all love that.

Fiona, tonight was played by Hope Newman and with her great and powerful singing voice she can go where ever she would like to go in theatre and one feels she will do well. A great performance and a clever aging device was used for Fiona, ever seen someone magically appear fifteen years older than they did a moment before? It’s clever and well devised.

Lord Farquad played by Joe Fisher, was absolutely hilarious, I won’t say too much for fear of spoiling things for those of you who might be going to see it before the end of the run, all that can be said at this point is this, he will make you laugh. The effect used is wonderful and one is completely fooled by the device used to make him smaller. Good traditional theatre and it looked great.

There are so many people involved in a GYWO performance: So always something to see other than the furtherance of the plot. The stage is colourful and busy but importantly everyone on it from the youngest to the oldest all had a job to do and all did it beautifully. The Dancing skeletons with the Dragon for example, were delightfull and in the darkness all you could see was their bones. Brilliant.

All of course made possible by the live orchestra playing the arrangements of Musical Director Adam Joy. One loves to see a live orchestra whenever it is possible they are so much more organic than taped music the air of liveness about their performance adds to the magic somehow.

This show is fun, it’s fun for the Mums and The Dads and it’s Fun for the Kids too, in fact one would need to have had some sense of humour removal surgery not to enjoy this one because it really is funny.

One is delighted to report Get Your Wigle On have again pulled a show and a performance from the top drawer and done it justice. Don’t go expecting deep satire or high-brow thought provoking agitprop, instead if you want a good laugh and you want to watch how a theatre can work when it’s working well, this is one for you. It runs all week with matinees too. If you are umming and ahhhing about whether you should have a family treat this weekend, go and see it, go see if I am right or not. But more importantly go and have a laugh, it is a good one for that.

This is a Five Star Review

Owen J.Lewis


Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to loveshrewsbury.com for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

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