Local musical theatre company Get Your Wigle On last week pulled out all the stops to bring Shrek the Musical to Theatre Severn.
Eirlys Wynne reviewed Friday’s performance which took place in Theatre Severn’s main auditorium.
This reviewer has attended many an amateur production of questionable quality, but quality was certainly something that was not questionable in this evening’s performance. As a regular Theatregoer, Shrek the Musical has got to be one of the most enjoyable evenings I’ve spent of late.
The auditorium was packed with an intergenerational audience, ready to be enchanted by the ‘ugly underdog gets the girl’ narrative and enchanted we undoubtedly were! The set delighted, with scene changes that took us from swamp to palace seamlessly. The flood lighting and accented lighting was flawless and the costumes a visual treat.
But these are technical observations, and as much as these were spectacular why do we really drag ourselves out on a miserable Friday night in February?
It’s for the acting; an opportunity to suspend our disbelief through our engagement with the characters. However, these are characters that are already familiar to the diehard fans in the audience, seated and resplendent in their earwax headbands! So, how do you as an actor interpret a character so well known that they won’t judge your rendition really harshly? A difficult task.
Acting is not my craft so I don’t know, but somehow this company managed to pull it off. James Broxton as Pinocchio was flawless, his singing voice clear and pure, he didn’t miss a note. Farquaad, played by Joe Fisher camped up an already camp scenario, breaking the Fourth Wall in his address to an already invested audience to their immeasurable delight!
Shrek (George Hargrave) was as he should be, deliberately understated and a perfect foil for Ross Wigley as Donkey who stole the show for me. He absolutely lit up the stage with his melodramatic body language and gestures and consequently made the pathos necessary for Shrek possible. His rejection of the Dragon for the ‘big girl’ had us all rolling in the aisles. I can’t move beyond this point without commending the Dragon. This company sports some incredible talent. Hannah Gamston’s voice is sweet and sonorous and all three Fiona’s young, teenage and adult have beautiful voices.
Individual performances aside, I particularly enjoyed the Freak Flag ensemble piece. The baby behind me gurgled happily, whilst the Grandfather beside me clapped, ‘That’s clever!’ pantomime season may be over for another year, but this was a fantastic family fun night out.
I started with a generalised comment on amateur productions but find myself thinking that GYWO have managed to make me rethink any latent prejudice. Never consider that an amateur company cannot perform to professional standards, because GYWO can.
Aside to audience: I can’t wait for the next one!
Reviewed by Eirlys Wynne