AmateurMusicalNorth WestReview

AMATEUR REVIEW: Shrek the Musical – The Brindley, Runcorn

Reviewer: John McRoberts

Book/Lyrics: David Lindsay-Abaire

Music: Jeanine Tesori

Director: Donna Dale

The inaugural production of Cheshire’s newly formed amateur company D&S Productions was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the delay has certainly not put a stop to their ambitions and enthusiasm which can be seen throughout every beat of Shrek the Musical.

Director Donna Dale has weaved together a strong ensemble cast especially the four main leads who wouldn’t have looked out of place in a professional production. Of course, there are always going to be elements that don’t always hit perfectly – a few interesting technical decisions occasionally threaten to pull you away from the Kingdom of Far Away and remind you that you’re in the theatre and there are a few weaker vocal performances which sadly are pointed out quite quickly when placed next to the shows leads. However, those issues are small when you compare them to the overall production.

Dale’s direction ensures the production runs with pace and tries to ensure every cast member no matter the size of the role, have their moment to shine in the spotlight. The ensemble numbers sound rich and full and alongside Craig Price’s strong musical direction, who also conducts a pitch-perfect live orchestra – it’s always a bonus to see a full orchestra pit – something that is becoming increasingly rare to see.

In the titular role, Wesley Wharton makes a strong and loveable ogre, really coming into his own during his solo numbers. He has excellent chemistry with his co-stars especially John Sprung-Murphy’s engaging and energetic Donkey. In the female lead of Princess Fiona, Kayleigh Ann Strong is sensational, her vocal and physical characterisations are perfect and really help ensure the show is the success it is.  The production is however stolen by the hilarious performance from Kriss Hubbard as the diminutive Lord Farquaad. Hubbard has perfect comic timing and has the audience in hysterics from the smallest of looks. One would also like to give mention to a few ensemble members Latesha Karisa, Skye Marsh, and Damian Riverol who all stood out and gave engaging performances no matter what they were being asked to do on stage.

Shrek the Musical has proven to be a huge success for D&S Productions’ inaugural production and it bodes extremely well for their next productions of Flint Street Nativity in December and The Full Monty in May next year.

Reviewed on 15 October 2021

The Reviews Hub Score

Strong Debut

The Reviews Hub - North West

The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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