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Review - BAT’s Shrek the Musical: a delightful night out

Right: Natalie Mead as the Donkey with Nathan Parmenter as Shrek. Below fright: Joshua Moore as the Lord Farquaard. Photos by Kris Anderson.

BAT’s Shrek the Musical

Based on the DreamWorks Animation movie

Book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire

Music by Jeanine Tesori

Directed by Suzanne Murphy

Musical director Jennifer Webber

Choreography by Stephanie O’Shea and Michelle Radu

Brisbane Arts Theatre

Petrie terrace

Season: February 24-March 31. Duration: two hours 30 minutes with interval. Bookings:

I have not seen the movie Shrek, so I had little idea of what to expect at the Brisbane Arts Theatre’s production of Shrek the Musical. But it proved to be an absolutely delightful night out. It was a well scripted story filled with whacky characters, heaps of humour, and well told by a highly talented cast of 30 plus singers, dancers and actors who, apart from the principals, played a host of fairytale characters.

There was no weakness is Suzanne Murphy’s cast and I would have to say that the singing from the principals and chorus was certainly the best I have seen at the Arts Theatre over the years and the choreography as clever enough to have the entire cast on the small stage without being crushed to death. Everyone was in tune and in time.

Technically too it purred along with excellent sound and lighting, with a few short dark patches for scene changing, but even that was efficiently done.

The costuming too was stunning and the wigs, so often a failure in community theatre, were perfect. In fact it was a thoroughly professional production.

This story of the gentle ogre Shrek and his search for solitude and the discovery of his soul mate Princess Fiona is a heart-warming tale that is a hit for kids and adults alike with 18 easy listening songs, including the hit Big Bright Beautiful World.

One of the reasons I did not watch the movie was because of the fact that in all the promos Eddie Murphy gave the garrulous donkey an irritating pitch that grated on my ears, but here Natalie Mead’s version of the animal was much more subdued and so much funnier. She nailed all the donkey jokes with great timing. Another memorable number was Make a Move with the Donkey and the Three Blind Mice.

I loved Nathan Parmenter’s Shrek. His make-up and costuming was spot on and he looked the double of his screen persona. His body language and line delivery were just perfect and his voice strong and pronunciation clear.

He was a perfect match with Katie Routson’s Princess Fiona, again a singer with a strong voice, particularly in the hilarious I Think I Got You Beat routine.

Joshua Moore as the very short Lord Farquaard was another star. He worked the entire show on his knees with a pair of skinny fake legs at the front and was so good he was believable – and very funny. And once again there was an actor/singer with a fine strong voice, excellent delivery, and acute comic timing.

He had the audience I fits of laughter. He also had some of the best one-liners in the show and milked every one of them. It was a memorable performance. But then even the smallest of fairytale role was well-crafted with strong characterisations.

This is a family show that I happily recommend for a anyone who enjoys a good musical night out at the theatre.

Above: The fairytale people. Right: Katie Routson as Princess Fiona.

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