Posted September 29, 2010 | © Photo courtesy of Dallas Summer Musicals
Once upon a time in a land not so far away (just over at Fair Park, actually) there was a big, nasty ogre named Shrek (played by Eric Petersen) who was gently guided — uh, make that kicked out — of the bog at age seven with little — uh, make that no encouragement. A self-proclaimed “crackpot magnet,” Shrek meets up with Donkey (Alan Mingo, Jr.), a furry friend who seemingly ‘drops’ from the sky with aspirations of adding hair extensions to his ankles and becoming one of those horses that pulls the wagons of beer.In order to take back his swamp from vagrant travelers like the Big Bad Wolf, Ugly Duckling, Three Bears, etc. who have been displaced by the ruthless Lord Farquaad, Shrek and Donkey embark on a journey to save Princess Fiona (Haven Burton) whose rescue mission profile describes her as one who loves “Pina coladas and getting caught in the rain.”
Despite a dialogue packed with double entendre, this production is great for both children and adults, and characters are very similar to what you would expect after watching the animated movie (accents and all).The never-ending wisecracks kept us snickering, and the only time we heard the kids laugh louder than the adults was when Shrek and Fiona engaged in a comical comparison of sad life stories that quickly morphed into a gas-fest/belch-athon.
The musical’s inspirational message is to let our “freak flag fly” which was preached by a cast of zany fairy tale characters including puppets, rabbits, and “hobbits with bad habits”.Pinocchio insisted he wasn’t wooden, but rather had a glandular condition, and Three Blind Mice with blonde wigs, glammed-up fur coats, and short sequined dresses popped out some high energy Tina Turner-esque dance moves.
Even with a stage set design that changed a couple dozen times and scenery that seemed to glide across the floor on its own, the best ‘prop’ of the show was the singing, blinking, giggling, 10’ tall dragon that ‘flew’ around the stage manned by four puppeteers all dressed in black.The dragon was extraordinarily voiced by Carrie Compere (who also played Shrek’s Mama Ogre).
Madison Mullahey was absolutely Shrektacular as the young Fiona.She easily held her own presence on a stage full of commanding adult actors, and her voice and personality were WAY bigger than her very young, petite frame.
Highlight performance of the evening though? Without a doubt, it was definitely Lord Farquaad’s legs!The character is extremely short in stature, so costume concessions were similar to Tim Conway’s Dorf on Golf and at one point consisted of shiny red boots, a sparkly blue skirt, gold belt, red breastplate, and a big blue cape (to cover up the legs of David F.M. Vaughn who acted the whole show on his knees).Often looking like a miniature cross between Elton John and Wonder Woman, David sang with powerful expression, brilliant humor, and (quite importantly) clarity.
The show runs through October 17, 2010 during the State Fair of Texas; so grab your choice of deep fried goodies, take a spin on North America’s largest Ferris wheel, pick up a pair of your own green ogre ears in the Musical Hall lobby, and settle in to live happily ever after.
Shall we say anything more about Shrek The Musical? Nah. “That’ll do, Donkey. That’ll do.”