Shrek fairytale is a winner in kids' poll; Music& THEATRE Shrek The MusicalKing's Theatre, Glasgow06.05.15.
Byline: Vivienne Aitken
IT may not be highbrow theatre but Shrek is most definitely an antidote to election fatigue.
The modern-day fairytale of ogre meets princess who turns ogre with true love's kiss has enough laughs to help you forget the cruel world of politics for a short time.
It bursts on to stage with an explosion of colour, sentiment and belching.
This production gives more of the back story to Shrek and Fiona than the movie and draws comparisons with their upbringings - or lack of them.
The dodgy Scots accent apart, Shrek is an instantly likeable figure. Together with his fast-talking, wise-cracking sidekick Donkey, Shrek, played by Dean Chisnall, had the audience in the palm of his hand.
Donkey, brought to life by Idriss Kargbo, was as athletic as any equine thoroughbred but, alas, was just as difficult to understand.
The speed at which he spoke in his thick Harlem accent meant some of the dialogue was unheard.
Whether that was down to the pure physics of speech-to-speaker delay or simply a diction fail is uncertain.
Kargbo is no Eddie Murphy but demonstrated a keen comedic talent with a range of facial expressions which tickled the audience, young and old.
Faye Brookes' Princess Fiona was irritating at times but, in the main, gave a steady performance as the spirited young royal.
Without a doubt, Gerard Carey's Lord Farquaad stole the show.
He was wondrously camp and egocentric, and scuttled about the stage on his knees with the rapidity of a demented crab.
His triumph may be owed in part to tour director Nigel Harman, who played the role so splendidly himself in London's West End.
Ultimately, the show is a fairytale aimed at children, so there is a fair smattering of fart jokes - both in dialogue and song - was always going to be a hit with the younger theatregoers.
And the cheeky nod to other shows, "Nobody puts Farquaad in a corner" was witty as well as clever.
Unlike the London version of the production, the dragon does not appear overhead spewing out flames as she moves. But the movement of the giant beast - created by four visible puppeteers - is still a marvellous sight. The one thing missing from Shrek compared to most musicals is the lack of memorable big numbers and big voices, although Candace Furbert, as the voice of the dragon, does pack a punch and a finale featuring I'm A Believer helps score a few singalong points.
Shrek may not win any prestigious theatre awards but it scores where it matters - in the hearts and minds of the young and those who are happy to embrace their inner Peter Pan.
COLOURFUL Shrek (Dean Chisnall) and Donkey (Idriss Kargbo), right, and Pinocchio (Will Haswell), below left. Picture: Helen Maybanks