Shrek by WBOS

I always enjoy going to see amateur productions of big shows and as Shrek is a personal favourite of mine, I was really looking forward to seeing the company of WBOS put on a spectacular show.  Did it disappoint……of course not, it was great!

This show is a certain crowd pleaser and played to a packed audience with the joyful sound of children, and adults alike, laughing out loud.  Shrek is a wonderful musical for all ages containing some very catchy songs such as ‘Big Bright Beautiful World’, ‘Story of My Life’ and ‘I Know It’s Today’ and they need a strong cast to carry them.  Fear not, the cast from WBOS were all fabulous in their roles and certainly deserve high praise.

Special mention goes to Simon Pugh in the role of Lord Farquaad.  Simon played the role with such incredible comic timing and really captured the essence of this rather misunderstood character. It is also quite a feat to play a role on your knees, however this was portrayed very naturally. 

Another stand out performer for me was Holly White who played Pinocchio. The voice was spot on for this character and her movement across the stage really captured the wooden puppet, or should I say boy, very well.

The ensemble cast of fairy-tale creatures all looked superb in their costumes and the group numbers including ‘Story of My Life’ and ‘Freak Flag’ were full of fun, colour, wonderful choreography (by Mike Capri & Adam Partridge) which leapt off the stage and had a smattering of the professional world of theatre.

The lead role of Shrek was played by John Wetherall.  Clearly a seasoned performer with lots of shows under his belt, John really did capture the pure essence of the green ogre.  His Scottish accent, synonymous with Shrek, transported me to the movie version and I could hear the dulcet tones of Mike Myers within his portrayal.  The similarities didn’t end there.  Again, for someone playing Shrek they need stage presence and John certainly delivered on that front, bringing comedy, anger, heartfelt moments and a great vocal throughout.

Princess Fiona was played by Emily Smith who encapsulated the role perfectly. With most characters in this production, comedy is a big part of bringing the characters to life and luckily Emily had that in spades!  We meet Princess Fiona, along with two younger versions of herself as they sing ‘I Know It’s Today’.  This was a real display of talent amongst some of the younger members of WBOS. Holly Edwards (Young Fiona) and Madison Jeffs (Teen Fiona) really do show a lot of potential in their vocal and performance abilities and should be commended.

Probably one of the most famous characters in Shrek must be Donkey.  This role was played by Theo Pitter who captured the playful, almost annoying side of this hoofed mammal well.  Once again, the costume and make-up were spot on.  Donkey features heavily in a lot of songs during the show, such as ‘Don’t Let Me Go’, ‘Travel Song’ and ‘Make a Move’.  Theo had great movement around the stage during these numbers and his vocal was strong.

I obviously can’t mention everyone, but as a full company, WBOS really did put on a very entertaining, funny, captivating, and enthusiastic show cementing the fact that amateur theatre is well and truly alive and should be seen by audiences across the country!

It really was a big, bright, beautiful world at the Wolverhampton Grand!

This performance was reviewed on the 5th October 2022.  The show runs until the 8th October 2022. Tickets available here: https://www.grandtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/shrek-the-musical/

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