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Wednesday, May 27, 2015


(Lyle Buxton as Shrek & Jessica Sole as Princess Fiona)\
(Pic by Val Adamson)

Splendid production worth every cent of the ticket price. (Review by Caroline Smart)

I have to confess that until this evening, I hadn’t really connected with the story or the movie of Shrek so I didn’t know what to expect when I entered the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre to see KickstArt’s largest and most expensive production to date.

Shrek is based on the 2001 Dream Works film Shrek! and William Steig’s 1990 book Shrek! The musical adaptation has book and lyrics by David Lindsay Abaire and music by Jeanine Tesori.

It was an extremely bold – and highly expensive - move on KickstArt’s part to present the South African premier of this West End musical adaptation of the hit movie. With excellent performances, delicious humour and upbeat music, Durban's Shrek the Musical is a superb production with a large cast and worth every cent of the ticket price. Under Steven Stead’s meticulous direction, Greg King’s spell-binding sets and stunning costumes, it’s an absolute winner ... and I’m now a Shrek convert!

The story in brief is this: Shrek is an ogre who was cast out by his parents when he turned seven. He lives in a swamp in contented isolation until a whacky donkey enters his life who initially irritates the life out of Shrek but soon they become friends. Then a bunch of fairytale characters arrive and decide to make the swamp their home, having been banished by the evil Lord Farquaard.

In order to get rid of them, Shrek approaches Farquaard to evict them. Having a hidden agenda, Farquaard agrees - on condition that Shrek rescues the beautiful Princess Fiona. who is incarcerated in a tower and guarded by a dragon.

Performances are excellent all round in a cast that includes well-known Durban actors and audience response proved the success of this production which could hold its own on any international stage.

Kobus van Heerden – a much shorter version – was hilarious as the evil Lord Farquaard and mention must be made of Graeme Wicks as Pinocchio. Donkey is a role to die for and Rory Booth fulfilled it to perfection, making the most of the comedy lines such as “I’m like a GPS with fur!”

Jessica Sole gives a stunning performance as the feisty Princess Fiona and impresses with her vocal range and sense of comedy. It is difficult to act behind a mask when the audience can't see the emotions on your face, but Lyle Buxton gives us a fine portrayal of the ogre who falls in love with a princess with a dark secret. He handles some beautiful songs with passion and sincerity. There is a hilarious scene of one-upmanship between the two of them involving a farting and belching match which is done so well that it is in no way offensive.

It’s impossible to mention every special moment but the dragon - which is into funk/fusion music, voiced by Shelley McLean and handled by Peter Court - must rank as one of Greg King’s most outstanding achievements. Gingy the Gingerbread Man (Charon Williams Ros) and the Three Blind Mice are enchanting. There’s also a delightful sequence as Shrek and Donkey set out on their journey with a revolving landscape in the background.

The hard-working ensemble cast is in and out of numerous characters in dizzying costume-changes. This is a highly complex production technically so full credit to the technicians and backstage crew whose expertise ensures that the show runs smoothly. Musical direction is by Justin Southey and choreography by Janine Bennewith, with lighting by Tina le Roux and musical direction by Shelley McLean.

Shrek runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre until June 28 with performances from Tuesday to Saturday at 19h00 with shows at 13h30 on Saturdays and Sundays. There is a special Youth Day performance on June 16 at 13h30. Ticket prices R295, R250 or R200 (R250, R200 or R180 for children under 12 and pensioners.) No children under six. Booking is now open at Computicket.

A family package is on offer for a family of four or five people to enjoy R290-R390 savings on top price tickets on Tues, Wed and Thursday evenings before June 18. A discount package of a family of four in the top price range costs R800 (usual price R1,090). A family of five package can also be made available for R950 on those nights.

For block bookings of 10 or more, contact Ailsa Windsor of Going Places: 083 250 2690 or – Caroline Smart

Catch Clive Read’s promote for the show on the URL Code Embed Code for Websites
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 More information on these theatre promos from Clive Read 082 570 5364 at or