Overview: Shrek is an ogre that just wants to live alone in his swamp. Lord Farquaad, is lord of Duloc and wants to be King, but in order to do so he needs to marry a princess. He also has issues with people who are different than him, and sends all the fairytale creatures to live in Shrek’s swamp. Princess Fiona, is his choice, the only problem (he knows about) is that she lives in a tower guarded by a fearsome dragon. In exchange for the deed to his swamp, Shrek is roped into finding the princess and bringing her home. With a talking Donkey along for the trip, Shrek rescues Fiona and heads back for Duloc. Along the way Shrek and Fiona start to fall in love, despite their obvious differences, but Fiona has a secret that keeps them stopping and making camp for the night. Trying to hide her secret, Donkey finds it out, and urges her to tell Shrek. She refuses, says some nasty things that Shrek overhears, and believes she is talking about him. Instead of professing her love, as he was about to do, he runs off and brings Lord Farquaad to her in the forest. The wedding begins, Shrek comes to his senses, wedding is crashed by him and other fairytale creatures and in the end true love prevails.
Opinion: I must confess, Shrek movies are a guilty pleasure of mine in general. Throw a wonderful cast, and great music and of course I’m hooked! The musical really highlights the fact that real life isn’t always as perfect or pretty like fairy tales. Sometimes it is ugly, smelly, confusing, or down right mean. Prince Charming doesn’t have to be handsome and wealthy, as long as you make each other happy and want to share your lives together it doesn’t matter what you or they look like.
The musical also supports the message that no matter how different you are, you should always be you. My favorite song would have to be “Let Your Freak Flag Wave.” The fairy tale creatures sing about being yourself and never being ashamed.
As you see from the video, it is a staged production, but it is still wonderful. I think that stage productions add a quality to the shows that make them more magical. Take the Pied Piper song, it would be a bit odd if small rats magically (without a fairy-godmother present) became big and started tapping on a movie version. On stage it works perfectly.
While the lessons it portrays are pretty heavy, the show is light and will keep you in stitches throughout the whole show. If you love the movies and are skeptical, the musical stays pretty much on the same path but of course somethings were added or taken away or done differently. Depending on how well it would or would not work for the stage. Plus we get to see insights into how Shrek came to live in his swamp, which is a bit heartbreaking, and we get to see Fiona through the years. We see her at three different stages in her life as she grows up in the tower waiting to be rescued. The lyrics are hilarious and the music is beautiful. We don’t get to see the band, but we can see the head of the conductor through the floor, I think it is poor placement but it works.