ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

The ensemble of guards, and a mixed bag of fairytale figures from other stories embellished their scenes. Amongst them were Pinocchio and his growing nose, the three large, little pigs and the dulcet tones of the dragon’s voice all kept Shrek’s quest adventure rolling along. Shrek’s blissful solitude is ruined when the evicted fairytale characters invade his swamp. To get it back he agrees to rescue Princess Fiona for the purpose of marrying Lord Farquaad. On his journey he meets Donkey who soon becomes his sidekick and friend. K. Ellis, as the fourlegged jackass, delivered his dialogue with comedic tones and in so doing became a firm favourite with the audience. Thomas Frith, in true pantomime mode, created a big impression as the villainous Lord Farquaad. The character maybe undersized but the performance certainly wasn’t. His would-be bride-to-be is the Princess Fiona, locked away in a tower guarded by a dragon. As the younger princesses in their debut performances with the company, were Yazmin Walker (who dedicated her performance to her Grandad, the late Cecil Walker), and Georgina Crank. Maria Ames played the feisty outcast Princess Fiona with determination and charm. Her vocal range and dancing skills were delightful and fulfilled all the expectations of Disney’s character. Besides Shrek being won over by Fiona, so, too, was the audience. Fiona’s green-faced, loveable, flatulent Ogre was believably characterised by Oliver Ball who retained all the movie’s humour. It didn’t take long for Oliver to create a rapport with the audience who would be championing Shrek on his quest. Fiona and Shrek had lots of laughs with their comedy timing and clear on-stage chemistry. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and love did win the day. The effort, the energy and the enthusiasm brought together all the many aspects that make this musical such an audience pleaser.