Favorite

Musical 'Shrek' succeeds, mostly 

If light family entertainment is your speed.

'Shrek the Musical' image

New York critics weren't wild about the 2008 stage incarnation of "Shrek the Musical." But, outside of "The Lion King," theater critics have pretty much walled off their hearts to popular film cartoons being made into high-priced, Great White Way entertainment. Then again, it's a tricky business to turn the intricately animated into singing and dancing flesh-and-blood. Now "Shrek the Musical" arrives at Robinson Center Music Hall thanks to a non-equity tour diverted to Little Rock by Celebrity Attractions. Directed on Broadway by Arkansas native Jason Moore, "Shrek" has undergone changes and songs have been added and cut (book and lyrics are by David Lindsay-Abaire and music is by Jeanine Tesori), but it's still a musical that very much resembles the 2001 Dreamworks movie. On stage, "Shrek" is funny and involving — like the movie, it's aimed at tickling adults and children. The cracked fairy tale story of an ogre and a princess with a secret doesn't take itself too seriously or smother the audience in winks. There are sections that simply don't translate on stage but they pass pretty quickly. That's good because "Shrek" lasts two and half hours, which is something to know if you are taking kids. As a story, "Shrek" is a busy and populated tale beginning with fairy tale creatures that are relocated to Shrek's swamp by the vertically-challenged Lord Farquaad (played with great relish and on his knees in a special short legs costume by Merritt David James). The group is lead by a particularly pessimistic Pinocchio (Chase Todd) and there's even Gingy (voiced by Schuyler Midgett), the sassy gingerbread cookie. Of course Donkey, the part that was voiced by Eddie Murphy in the movie and who Andre Jordan sounds a lot like here, is along for the journey to be both pain and friend to Shrek. Overall, the performances in this "Shrek" are energetic and comic without crossing over into the camp territory. As Shrek, Lukas Poost's accent gets the better of him at times but he plays off well with Liz Shivener's sharp, "bi-polar" Princess Fiona. Tesori's music has a modern edge to it and is more serviceable than memorable. The songs are spiced by Lindsay-Abaire's witty lyrics. The parts that don't work in this "Shrek" are the parts that really could only be pulled off on film — the dragon is an impressive large puppet but does it really need to have a song? And the spectacle of Princess Fiona's final transformation is pretty but doesn't make sense. Still, "Shrek" is light and bright entertainment. The show isn't trying to be the Great American Musical, thank goodness, and just because Hollywood got to it first doesn't make it bad. The story holds up and the ogre and his cartoon pals are good-hearted and warped just enough to be worth the time. 

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Werner Trieschmann

  • 'Disfarmer': behind the camera

    The strange case of Arkansas photographer Disfarmer, subject of a new play opening this weekend.
    • Sep 25, 2014
  • Live Review: Eric Church and Dwight Yoakam at Verizon

    Apparently Dwight Yoakam’s acting career is sufficiently slack enough that Friday night saw him opening for bro-country kingpin Eric Church at Verizon Arena. Hollywood is taking Yoakam in small enough doses (he has a recurring part on CBS’s “Under the Dome”) that he can lend his considerable talents to country music, which currently can use any kind of flavor it can get.
    • Sep 15, 2014
  • Review: 'Shrek the Musical'

    New York critics weren’t wild about the 2008 stage incarnation of “Shrek the Musical.” But, outside of “The Lion King,” theater critics have pretty much walled off their hearts to popular film cartoons being made into high-priced, Great White Way entertainment. Then again, it’s a tricky business to turn the intricately animated into singing and dancing flesh-and-blood.
    • Oct 31, 2011
  • More »

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Theater Reviews

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Spero heads up songwriting camp

    • A good step in the right direction! Another step would be to unite the women…

    • on July 17, 2017
  • Re: Walter was the worst

    • What a lame review. Walter Becker was never Steely Dan's guitar star...they left that to…

    • on July 17, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation