Shrek musical is an absolute gem

Dean Chisnall and Idris Kargbo in Shrek The Musical''Photo by Helen Maybanks
Dean Chisnall and Idris Kargbo in Shrek The Musical''Photo by Helen Maybanks

Sometimes a random memory can illuminate a bigger picture.

Picture, if you will, a crowded city department store on a busy pre-Christmas Saturday. A group of men, increasing by the minute, seek refuge around a television set while their wives and girlfriends, brandishing the plastic, head for the handbags and shoes

It is not the highlights from the Ashes, a Premier League early kick-off or an incident of world-wide significance on screen. It is Shrek, with the antics of an ogre and his donkey sidekick demanding mature male attention.

The point of all this reveals that there is something of the child in all of us. Proof has been evident at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal, where Shrek The Musical has been packing them in – audiences of all ages, including some children.

The show is an absolute gem, outpantoing any panto, with a hugely talented and energetic cast.

The principals have a whale of a time. Dean Chisnell in the title role galumphs around the stage as he embarks on a task to rescue Princess Fiona (Faye Brookes) from a tower guarded by a fire-breathing, love-struck dragon.

Accompanying him is Donkey, superbly portrayed by Idriss Kargbo. It can’t be easy following Eddie Murphy’s voice in the animated film but Kargbo seems born for the role. Then there’s Gerard Carey’s diminutive Lord Farquaad, who has earmarked Fiona for his bride and commissions Shrek to carry out the rescue mission.

Needless to say, things don’t go according to plan as Shrek and Fiona begin to realise they have much more in common than anybody, including themselves, could believe.

While no praise can be too high for the principals there is a strong supporting cast, with just about every fairy tale character you can remember.

As for the dragon puppet, suffice it to say this is on a par with Joey in Warhorse.

Songs and dance are superb in a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Be a believer and go and see it – after all the recommendation on the ticket is aged five-plus.