Shrek The Musical a monster serving of ham and family fun
Review: Shrek The Musical at Grand Opera House, Belfast
The kids gather excitedly, hyped up on a giddy cocktail of e-numbers and expectation for the musical extravaganza that is Shrek the Musical.
Maintaining the cleverly subversive essence of the movie, it’s shot through with more camp than a scout jamboree, a double-album's worth of big song and dance numbers, and a few extra bottom gags.
But essentially — in time honoured panto tradition — it's a show that has lots of adult humour folded into the ostensibly child-friendly confection, and gives real bite to that gummy old cliché “fun for all the family”.
So we follow the post-modern deconstructionist adventures (or just ‘adventures’ if you prefer) of everybody's favourite big green Scottish ogre — sorry Gordon — as he harrumphs and farts his way to winning the heart of Princess Fiona.
And it is very, very funny, whisper it, funnier than the film, thanks to the intimacy of being in the proximity of such a kinetic live performance.
A great collective cast provides superior ham throughout — prosciutto as opposed to extra-value you might say — but wicked Lord Farquaad steals every scene with his tiny legs. The gingerbread torture scene is particularly delicious.
The high-kicking chutzpah of the Busby Berkeley-style song and dance routines — not to mention some zingy lines — trample any remaining cynicism.
Any show with the line “this ass of mine is asinine” in it has to be worth a closer groan-accompanied look.
So, what might have been a shabby rehashing of a great movie is actually a fun, technicoloured and often wonderfully garish production.
But it’s also one that preserves the central allegory — a celebration of the outsider, the freak — intact.
So, two-and-a-half hours might be a bit of a marathon for the younger and more fidgety of the little darlings but there's enough shiny, swirly stuff to keep any attention deficit in big and small kids alike to a minimum.
Unlike nasty Lord Farquaad (altogether: “Booo!”) Shrek the Musical has impressive legs, and should get a good two week run at the Opera House with them.