“ Shrek The Musical live at Theatre Royal / Drury Lane / Catherine Street / London, WC2B 5JF. „
We recently spent a weekend in London for my birthday and as part of the celebrations we went to see Shrek the Musical. It was absolutely fabulous and I'd recommend it to everyone. I laughed regularly and even when I wasn't laughing, I had an inane grin fixed on my face!
Booking is easy enough - you can do it online, in person or over the phone. I'd obviously recommend booking in advance if you can - particularly for weekend performances or if you don't want to waste time doing it when you are in London. Having said that, when we went (on a Wednesday at the end of March) the theatre was probably only three quarters full. In fact they decided to close the balcony and move the people who were sat there into the upper circle. This actually meant that people who had paid only £20 for a ticket were moved down into the £50 area, good if you are upgraded but not so good for those of us who had paid the higher price.
There are lots of places online where you can book tickets for the shows, however when researching it, I found that none of them were any cheaper than booking direct (in fact some of them were even more expensive!), so we decided to book direct at www.shrekthemusical.co.uk. The site is really easy to use and there is a really handy function on there where you can actually have a look at the view from your seat before you book.
-Theatre and Location-
Shrek the Musical is currently being shown at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane (home of the Muffin Man that features in the play in fact!!). Getting there is easy, namely because you can see the theatre from about three blocks away in any direction thanks to the huge luminous green signs that decorate the front and back of the building. If you are arriving by Tube the nearest station is Covent Garden and it is only a couple of minutes' walk away.
The theatre inside is lovely and traditional and is exactly what you'd expect from a London theatre. It is recommended that you arrive at least twenty minutes before the start of the show and there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy a rather expensive drink or snack beforehand. There are gift stalls selling all manner of Shrek themed gifts as well as a couple of bars snack stalls which sell sweets and chocolates for pretty inflated prices (we paid £3 for a bag of minstrels and £2.50 for a bottle of water). You can also pre-order your half time drinks as well to save having to wait later on.
-Tickets and Seats-
There are lots of different priced tickets available and none of them are cheap. You can sit in the stalls for between £55 and £65, depending on how far back you sit. Seats in the Circle are £35, £45 or £55, again depending on how far back you sit. Balcony seats are the cheapest at £20 - £25 each, although you should bear in mind that you are very high up here. There are family tickets available in the stalls for £150 or in the circle for £99, but both of these must include two under 16s.
We opted for the circle seats because I don't like being in the stalls and looking up at the stage. We managed to get a seat two rows back from the front which was great. The seats are quite steeply tiered which means that the view is good even if you are sat behind someone tall! After using the view from the seats function that I mentioned earlier we decided that the upper circle was the level we wanted to be on. We actually wanted front row seats, but when we got there we were glad we didn't get them as there were huge lighting rigs attached to the front that partially obscured the view of the stage - not good if you've paid upwards of £50. There are in fact quite a lot of discounted tickets available if you don't mind having an obscured view; these tickets work out about half the price of normal tickets - so there is a good saving to be made.
The show was amazing, there is no other word for it.
Obviously I don't want to spoil the story for anybody who is thinking of going to see it, but the show basically follows the story of the first film. I loved this because the first is without a doubt the best of the films by a mile and it is a story that carries over well to the stage. Whilst it is obviously not an exact recreation of the film, some of the best jokes and lines appear in the stage show making sure that the show is as good as the film in that respect. The one line that I was disappointed to find missing from the show was 'red flowers, blue stems . . . this would be so much easier if I wasn't colour blind', but I'll let them off since most of the others were in!
There are few people in the show that you will recognise by name alone and others that you might know if you Google them and others still that you won't know at all but they all make the show great. The big name is Kimberley Walsh (she of Girls Aloud fame), who plays Princess Fiona. To be honest, she was the one I was most disappointed in. She puts on an American accent and she isn't that good at it, which I found quite distracting. Aside from that she was good though. Richard Blackwood 9he of I'm not sure what fame) plays Donkey. Eddie Murphy made Donkey in the films and his was a pretty big act to follow. I don't particularly like Richard Blackwood and my husband hates him but we both came out of the show declaring that he was the best thing about it. He is funny and plays the part brilliantly, filling awkward silences with amusing stories and sounds as is the way with Donkey. The unknown Dean Chisnall did a fabulous job of Shrek and he was likeable from the get go. After Donkey, the star of the show was Neil McDermott as Lord Farquard. I've never heard of him before, but he has had small parts in things like Eastenders and The Bill, so you might recognise his face. He made a fabulous villain and he was obviously born to do this role because he just did it so brilliantly - he was energetic, menacing and very watchable.
I have to make a special mention for the dragon which was fantastic, I don't want to spoil it for anybody so I won't say more than that. In fact all of the props were great. Most of them were very simple but they were well executed and helped tell the story and present things well. The same can be said for the costumes. Obviously being based on a film they had something to go on but on the flip side of that, they had something to live up to as well. The costumes were lovely and bright and in fitting with the whole franchise. I can only imagine how long it took to get Shrek into his costume every day and how much he was sweating underneath it!
The running time is two hours and thirty minutes, including a twenty minute interval. The interval isn't half way through the production, but about an hour and a half in, leaving about forty minutes afterwards. I thought this was pretty odd and there were plenty of opportunities to have it earlier on without it stopping in a daft place. I thought having the interval where it was made the second part disappointingly short and it left me feeling a little short changed to be honest.
One of the best things about the film is that they are suitable for all ages because they have the cartoon aspect of a children's film coupled with jokes that only adult audiences will get. I am delighted to say that this applies to the play as well. The children in the audience were having a riotous time and were rapt with attention throughout, but there were quite a few occasions where just the adults were laughing and laughing heartily at that. Bear in mind though that under fives are not allowed to watch the show.
I think the answer to that one is obvious. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it to everyone. It is a bit expensive but then it is a West End show and it is absolutely worth every penny. Shrek the Musical is a fantastic spectacle that will having you oohing and aahing like you are at a pantomime and laughing like you are at a comedy show. It really is brilliant - go if you can!
After seeing the adverts for the Shrek Musical I couldn't wait to get tickets! Me and my boyfriend had loved all the Shrek movies and figured the musical couldn't go far wrong. We purchased tickets from lastminute.com for £25 each with seats in the balcony. We would have preferred better seats but £25 was more in our budget.
We had seen some very good reviews for the show and a performance of it on the X-Factor and it did look really good. We were a bit wary of the casting of Amanda Holden as we only really saw her as a talent show judge, but the rest of the case looked great.
The 'Shrek' Musical is performed at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and has been running since 6th May 2011. There are daily performances, with evening shows Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with extra matinee show on a Thursday and weekend. The ticket prices vary from £20 to £65. The balcony seating ranges between £20 and £25 so is very reasonable and even here you get a decent view of the stage. For better seats you will pay around £50 for the Upper Circle and £65 for Grand Circle so there really is a wide range of tickets to suit every budget. The show runs for 2 ½ hours which includes a short interval.
When the musical opened in 2011 the cast were:-
Shrek - Nigel Lindsay
Fiona - Amanda Holden
Donkey - Richard Blackwood
Lord Farquaad - Nigel Harmen
But this has changed now to:-
Shrek - Dean Chisnall
Fiona - Kimberley Walsh
Donkey - Richard Blackwood
Lord Farquaad - Neil Mcdermott
When we saw the performance the original cast were performing so this review will based on this but the new cats are supposed to be just as good from reviews I have seen.
When we arrived in London we had to collect our tickets from the theatre itself. It looked very grand with a huge Shrek sign lit up in green at the front, plush carpets and galleried stairways. We collected the tickets and returned later that night for the show. We were instructed to enter via the side entrance as we were in the balcony and was directed to a door further down the road. This was just a door to a back entrance and concrete corridors running up 100's of stairs. I have to say I was disappointed. The stairway was grey, damp and worn and when we got to the top we were held in a drab, dismal corridor with peeling paper. After seeing the grand entrance I was highly disspointed with the entrance we were sent to. A less able person would not be able to get up these stairs.
Once we were let though the door into the theatre there was a huge change. We were back in the plush theatre with high ceilings thick carpets. Out seats were just about big enough. A little more leg room wouldn't have gone amiss but the seats were comfortable and good quality. We were the second row from the balcony so we had a really clear view of the stage. I think if you were further towards the back the view may be restricted but our seats were very good.
The show starts and Shrek comes on and gives a brief summary of the story. Shrek is a grumpy hero who after meeting and befriending talking Donkey is off on a mission to rescue Princess Fiona for Lord Farquaads who is a search of a princess for his throne. After seeing the films hundreds of times I knew we would be very sceptical of the performances and would naturally compare the musical cast to the film. However, we were not to be disappointed.
Nigel Lindsay portrayed Shrek just like the film. He performed with Shrek's grumpy nature and unlikely heroism. He had a great singing voice that resonates throughout the whole room and is very funny, often giving the smallest of expressions to make you laugh. Richard Blackwood as Donkey is extremely close to Eddie Murphy's portrayal in the film, even using the same accent. He performs a few musical numbers which are very good, but he seems to not be such a key character as is in the film. I would have liked to see more of Donkey in the show as in the film he is one of my favourites. Princess Fiona is played by Amanda Holden. And I was sceptical of this casting when I heard but she plays Fiona well. She can sing and dance well and plays off Shrek a lot. When she is turned from princess to ogre the change is done in an instant which I couldn't figure out how that was done. The green ogre look is achieved well and doesn't look false. But now on to my absolute favourite character in the musical - Lord Farquaad. Farquaad was played by Nigel Harmen. As Lord Farquaad in the film is, shall we say, vertically challenged, so to achieve this Nigel Harmen played the whole show on his knees. Just seeing him attempt to run across the stage with shoes attached to his knees is hilarious and his comedic timing is the best in the show. He brings a different style to the character to the film but if anything this is better and funnier. Also look out for the impressive Dragon which looks so realistic on stage and appears overhead coming from nowhere!
The songs in the musical include ones from the film and new additions including "I'm a believer", "Morning Person", Who'd I Be". The cast perform the songs well and really belt out the numbers. The storyline is very close to the film with a few alterations to perform the whole film in the time slot.
If you love the films then I guarantee you will love the stage show. 2 ½ hours of laughter, song and fun!
I went to see Shrek the Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane just last week, and must admit I was disappointed. The musical had hardly been adapted for stage at all, and was really just a copy of the film. It had the same jokes and pretty much the same script. The songs were repetitive and in my opinion, quite boring.
There were a few scenes that were actually very good - Lord Farquar was nothing short of hilarious, though this was due to the actor playing the part rather than anything amazing going on with the script. The dragon was also something spectacular to behold and the voice behind it was excellent! Unfortunately though scenes with these two characters were minimal and the three main characters weren't up to scratch.
Kimberley Walsh was good, and much better than I expected. I was disappointed though that she was actually the best of the three main characters! Shrek and Donkey were OK but they didn't really make the part their own, and they just weren't funny. Donkey in particular was very quiet despite having a microphone - it was as if he was acting for screen rather than the stage!
Overall I thought the musical was nothing special and merely ok - for the soundtrack I believe there's only a couple of songs worth having, and those would be the ones sung by the dragon. However this is still only because the actress had a fantastic voice rather than that the songs were any good.
It will definitely be a good show for young children who like shrek but, for £55 a ticket, I don't think it's worth it. You'd be better to take them to something like the Lion King, a truly spectacular show that they'll always remember.
During my latest visit to London I knew that I wanted to take my son to the West End to see a show as I felt he was old enough to appreciate it and to take note of what was going on at six years old. As we needed to see a show on a Monday night we were quite limited on what we could see as many shows don't show on a Sunday or Monday night but luckily for us the show Shrek was showing and my son, my sister and I were all keen on seeing it.
Ordinarily I would book tickets for a show when I got to London using the tkts booth in Leicester Square but as this was a new show I was concerned that they may not be selling the tickets or that they would not have any when we got down there so I decided to book the tickets through ticketmaster. The ticket prices really do vary with some of the best seats costing upwards of ninety pounds but we settled for mid range tickets towards the back of the stalls which apparently were limited view which cost £55.00 per ticket but had booking fees and such like on top making them around £60.00 per ticket. Considering that I had got a good deal on a Travelodge hotel and train travel it actually meant that mine and my sons tickets combined were costing more than two nights in London and return travel from Manchester so we were hoping that the show would live up to our expectations!
Now every single time I go to see a show in London I end up getting lost in the streets and having to ask for directions. This time I was organised and went on to the internet to find directions before we travelled. The print out I had showed a map and a few directions and have to say they were just perfect and we found the theatre without any trouble at all.
The show is at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (I just love the fact that it is at Drury Lane as the film makes reference to the muffin man who lives on Drury Lane!) and so the nearest tube station is Covent Garden. You quite literally need to walk out of the station down a row of shops, down by the piazza and then after a minute you will see the theatre in the not to far distance. I would say it is a five minute walk, if that, from the tube station. You will spot the theatre immediately as it has a large green "S" with ears on the front!
==The theatre and merchandise==
The theatre looks very grand as they all seem to do in London's West End. There are lots of attendants around to help you with getting in to the theatre and to let you know where your seats are and show you if required.
Inside the foyer there is a sparkly green "S" which is the perfect place for photographs to mark your trip to see the show as you are not allowed to take any photographs whilst in the main show area regardless of whether the show has started or not. There are plenty of staff wandering around inside there selling merchandise who will jump on you if you try and take a photo!
As with all shows of this kind there is merchandise being sold as well as sweets, drinks and ice cream and such like. They have t shirts, key rings, programs, soft toys, shrek ears and even whoopee cushions for sale here. My son decided he would like me to buy a small donkey soft toy which was £9.00 and I opted to buy a programme for £6.00 so he would have a memory of the day to take away with him. My sister chose a key ring which was £7.00. The merchandise is nice but over priced as always. A bag of sweets will set you back around £3.00, a drink £2.80 and a small tub of ice cream £3.50....yes we bought all of them because that's what you do at the theatre!
==The show and my opinion==
For those of you who are not aware of whom Shrek is...where have you been?! Shrek is a green ogre who is feared by many but who is probably misunderstood really. Set a challenge to rescue Princess Fiona from the dragon guarded castle, Shrek sets off on an adventure which will change his life.
From the onset I knew that this show was not going to be a carbon copy of the Dreamworks film and this was something that I was pleased about because whilst I love the Shrek films I didn't want to pay £60.00 per ticket to see something copied on to the stage from the big screen when I could watch it at home. The show of course follows the themes of the film and will also have some of the more iconic moments added in to it such as key phrases and moments but it is different as well and tells us a bit more about the background of Shrek and Fiona's life just as an example.
The songs in the show are brilliant I have to say and are sung really well. They are frequent and often really funny too and they really do keep your attention so well. The set is also brilliant and changes effortlessly and looks really professional. One scene is Lord Farquaads castle and it actually looks like it is a three dimensional castle and I think this is wonderful seen as it is on a stage. The dragon used in the show is phenomenal and I am not exaggerating when I say that at all...it looks amazing and is well controlled and at one point flies right over the audience which is just spectacular. The change over from when Fiona is a normal looking Princess to when she is a green ogre is also done remarkable quickly and something that I was really impressed by.
Shrek is played by Nigel Lindsay and whilst he is apparently someone who has been on a few things on the television he is not someone that I was aware of at all. He plays Shrek excellently and lumbers around the stage just like you would expect an ogre to do. He acts the part really well and shows both Shrek's scary and more misunderstood and vulnerable side brilliantly. He sings the songs really well too and was believable as the character.
Fiona is ordinarily played by Amanda Holden and I was looking forward to seeing her play the role even though I had seen some clips and was aware she wasn't the strongest singer. When we got to the theatre though we were made aware that Amanda wouldn't be playing Fiona during our show and whilst initially disappointed I was soon in awe of Alice Fearn who was playing the part that night. Alice was funny as the character as well as an excellent singer and I think she was brilliant at the role.
Richard Blackwood plays Shrek's loyal companion Donkey and to be honest I was expecting more humour from him as I knew him as a comedian first and foremost. He played the part quite well but I felt Donkey could have been more stand out at times.
For me the absolute stand out performance in the show was that of Nigel Harman as Lord Farquaad. In the film Lord Farquaad is a very small man with illusions of grandeur and this is portrayed in the stage show with Nigel Harman on his knees with false legs attached to his costume. It is hilarious seeing the legs move as Nigel rushes along on his knees and they are able to use this to create some hilarious moments.
The show is suitable for children age five plus and my son is six. He loved the show and was laughing out loud at many points. The show will not go over a child's head, especially if they have seen the film, and they will enjoy all the singing, dancing and energy that the show has to offer. From an adults point of view the show is hilarious in points but much like the film it has little moments where only the adults in the audience will understand and be amused by what is going on but that it is not enough to make the children question what is going on as well. An example of this is Lord Farquaad dancing and opening up his artificial legs whilst making reference to how wonderful he is. As adults we were amused but the children just think he is dancing.
There are many cast members involved in this production some of which will be familiar to those who have seen the films such as Pinocchio, the three bears or Gingey the gingerbread man but there are also other fairy tale characters such as Humpty Dumpty, the uckly ducking and red riding hood which I have never noticed in the film. The additional cast members who are not "main" characters are still really prominent in the show and provide some excellent entertainment by the way of singing and dancing.
My son's favourite parts of the show where when Fiona and Shrek discovered they had a little bit more in common than first thought as they burp and fart through a song and when the dragon comes flying over the audience. We were covered slightly by the over hang from the seats above so perhaps missed out on a little of the effect but he still felt it was wonderful all the same.
I can honestly say I would love to see this show again and so I cannot give it anything but my full recommendation. It was funny, well thought out, energetic and entertaining and I would definitely say go and see it if you can because it is wonderful! I can guarantee at the end of the show you will be on your feet singing, dancing and clapping!
Thank you for reading my review!