If you were seven years old and your parents sent you off to fend for yourself, telling you it was a, ”Big, bright, beautiful world out there for everyone but you,” what would you do? If you are an ogre you hunker down and keep to yourself, after all, no one likes having a hinny on fire because of frightened town-folks. All goes well for our ogre until a bunch of fairy tale misfits show up in the swamp and start to make camp. What more can an ogre do but try and get his peace and quiet back? On his quest, Shrek discovers friendship, self esteem and true love. What a deal.
Shrek the Musical (based on the DreamWorks Animation Film and book by William Seig.) is a beloved tale of making the best of life especially if the ”world” thinks you are a freak. A funny, irreverent but tender story, this Cottage Theater production has lots of great music, characters and many surprises. In my book, this show was just as good as Broadway’s version. (The musical adaptation book and lyrics are by David Lindsay-Abaire and music by Jeinie Tesori.)
Mark VanBeever (Shrek and the vocal director) absolutely nailed the part of a lovable, stinky ogre with a magnificent singing voice. Playing with equal brilliance, Melissa Miller (Princess Fiona all grown up) won our hearts with her vocals and sassy attitude. The youngest Princess Fiona, Audriahna Jones, and teenager Princess Fiona played by Elise Smith also performed well; the trio of Fionas gave a thrill of harmony. Matt G. Arscott (Donkey) reminded us all how to be a true friend with humor and tenacity. Then there was Joshua Sayre (Lord Farquaad). His performance was anything but small, rising to the occasion; I know I was not the only audience member enchanted with his ability to encourage us to believe that he was a man of tiny stature.
This is a large production with many parts coming together with magic and hard work. Kudos to the entire cast, numerous and assorted directors and managers, musicians, superb stagecraft and the use of clever sets.
The energy of the entire musical was high and by the end it almost impossible to not stand and sing along with the cast ”I’m a Believer” because by then, I truly was! I recommend this for all ages (5-105) because there is something for everyone to marvel at.
Shrek the Musical runs until Oct. 28 at the Cottage Theatre, 700 Village Drive, Cottage Grove, with the next performance on Thursday, Oct. 11.
More information can be found at 541-942-8001 or www.cottagetheatre.org.