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Shrek On Stage
Shrek The Musical
Member Name: dkm1981
Shrek The Musical
Advantages: Excellent acting, props and costumes, Richard Blackwood, fun for all.
Disadvantages: Some seats have restricted views
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!
Summary: Worth the money - great fun