Just when you think you can't be surprised, a musical as brilliant and buoyant as "Shrek: The Musical" comes along and thrills and delights.
You think you know the story. I certainly did. But what I wasn't prepared for was how delightful and thoroughly entertaining the story would uplift and illuminate.
Based somewhat on the original "Shrek" movie, the musical gives even more context and begins in the early years of Shrek and Fiona's lives. By the time the story aligns with the movie adventure, you are given so much more insight into their individual and collective journeys.
Eric Peterson (Shrek) and Haven Burton (Princess Fiona) are personable and charming but truly the two actors who steal the show are Al Mingo Jr. (Donkey) and David F.M. Vaughn (Lord Farquaad). They offer depth, humanity and hilarity to their roles that far exceed their movie counterparts.
I had the good fortune to interview Vaughn, aka Lord Farquaad (read my Charlotte Weekly story here) and he said that during the national tour some people said they were initially reluctant to see the show because they thought it would be only the movie come to life. But that after the show people would rush up and let them know that the show was so much more. Now I understand why.
The music is memorable and exciting. The costumes and choregraphy brought the nuance and texture to the roles in a way the 2-D version of the movie couldn't. And the whole package results in an uplifting and exciting evening.
Understandably, the show was packed with kids. This is a terrific gateway musical to introduce young children to the delights of live theater.
See "Shrek: The Musical" running at the Blumenthal until Sunday, Feb. 19. You won't be sorry you did!