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REVIEW Shrek the Musical at Bristol Hippodrome


We’d never taken our five year to an evening theatre performance before and I wasn’t convinced he’d cope with the late night, but when the much acclaimed ‘Shrek the Musical’ arrived at The Bristol Hippodrome during the summer holiday (and at the slightly earlier than usual showtime of 7pm), it seemed the perfect opportunity. SHREK THE MUSICAL is based on the story and characters from William Steig’s book Shrek! and the Academy Award winning DreamWorks Animations feature film. It’s a charming and funny love story featuring social outcasts, living in a fabled world, peopled by fairytale misfits. The show begins with the backstory of how Shrek is forced to leave his ‘loving’ parents at the tender age of seven, to go and live in a swamp – cleverly illustrated by means of characters emerging from the pages of a humungous fairytale story book. From start to finish there’s a vibrancy about the show. Clever lighting, numerous costume changes and bold scenery all help make you feel as if you’ve stepped into a brightly coloured cartoon world! The casting is top notch too. Dean Chisnall sings and plays the beloved swamp-dwelling ogre ‘Shrek’ superbly (the role he previously played in the West End)Gerard Carey is the laugh-a-minute pint-sized villain ‘Lord Farquaad’, sporting malleable little fake legs and displaying superb comic timing. In one scene his diamante bandana offers the perfect accompaniment to his camp persona. And would it sound very odd if I were to suggest that Shrek’s wisecracking sidekick ‘Donkey’ Idriss Kargbo is strangely alluring?! Faye Brookes is my hero in this show though. I find her absolutely hilarious as the endearingly bonkers ‘bi-polar’, warts and all damsel in distress ‘Princess Fiona’.  The lavatorial humour has no doubt been written specifically for the target audience of my 10, 8 and 5 year old boys, although there are a few adult-only one liners too, so everyone’s catered for.

I’ve mentioned before how certain aspects of shows can go over the kids’ heads but I realise that this can work both ways. My eight year old was intrigued by how the ginger bread man could move his mouth, while firmly attached to a baking tin. It’s easy to forget how this kind of puppetry, so obvious to us, is still magical for kids.  Having said that, he also asked me what our biscuity friend was made of, so maybe some of my adult cynicism has already rubbed off on him as he clearly realises he’s unlikely to be made of confectionary!
And then there’s the dragon. What can I say? She’s spectacular and quite mesmerising, elegantly filling virtually the whole stage with her flapping wings, snaking tail and sultry eyes! It’s easy to ignore the clever, black-clad puppeteers operating her and enjoy her majestic movements.
Shrek Bristol Hippodrome Review


This is a thoroughly professional show with loads of action, a raft of well known fairytale characters and plenty of wind breaking and belching to keep the children amused.
The eight year old said he liked all of the show.
“My favourite character was Shrek and the best part was the funny song with Princess Fiona and Shrek. I also thought the tiny man, Lord Farquaad was really funny!”
And we needn’t have been worried about the five year old as he was almost constantly glued to the action,  except when whispering absolutely crucial questions like:-
“Where are his ears?’
“Did you bring anything to eat?”
“Is the interval when we go home?”
“Mummy, did Shrek just say ‘ass’?!!”
The following day, my youngest offered up this review”-
“I was tired staying up so late but it was a good show. Shrek was my favourite character”
I asked him why Shrek was his favourite and he looks at me as if I’m a bit simple
“Because he was the main person!”
Brief pause
Where are his ears?”

  SHREK THE MUSICAL The Bristol Hippodrome Tuesday 19th August – Sunday 7th September 2014 Performances: Tue – Sat eves at 7.00 pm Thu & Sat mats at 2.30 pm Sun mats at 3.00 pm Tickets: £15.00 – £49.50 Concessions available at certain performances www.shrekthemusical.co.uk     OTHER SHOW REVIEWS ON PRACTICALLY PERFECT MUMS Singin’ in the Rain  Rock of Ages The Buddy Holly Story Tonight’s the Night Fame Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake Robin Cousins’ ICE Dirty Dancing West Side Story Happy Days Evita Starlight Express Joseph Cats Cinderella White Christmas     DISCLOSURE: I RECEIVED TICKETS FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE OUR OWN.

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