Nothing says Christmas Cheer like a big, green, stinky old grouch. And no, I'm not talking about Oscar, or even the Grinch. The honor goes to everyone's favorite ogre, Shrek -- or to be more precise, Shrek the Musical, the stage adaptation of the movie that's already getting rave reviews. We were invited to watch a show of Shrek the Musical in San Francisco's Orpheum Theatre, and everyone who saw it agreed that it was the perfect show to take your family to over the holidays.
Shrek the Musical is based on the first movie, where Shrek meets Donkey, frees Princess Fiona from her tower, saves her from marriage to Lord Farquaad and finds his One True Love. If you've seen any of the 4 Shrek movies, you'll know that this is a film that can be enjoyed on so many levels. Kids love the funny storybook characters, while grownups appreciate the witty references to contemporary culture (I loved the not-so-subtle homages to the "Defying Gravity" number from Wicked and the Lion King's "Circle of Life") and sly digs at traditional fairytale characters and storylines.
I thought they did a great job migrating the characters from the movie onto the stage. It's not easy to make real live people look like cartoons, but with the help of some colorful costumes and ingenious props (my kids loved how Pinocchio's nose actually grew longer when he told lies!), they came pretty darn close. For some characters, they didn't even try -- Gingie the gingerbread man was basically a puppet on a tray, carried around by one of the 3 Bears, who also did Gingie's voice like a ventriloquist.
But the best cartoon-to-real-life transformation award would have to go to tiny little Lord Farquaad’s legs -- the actor plays Lord Farquaad is on his knees the whole time to make him look short, and a pair of fake puppet legs is attached to his waist. The things he does with his fake legs -- crossing them, doing flying leaps, tippytoeing across the stage -- are absolutely hilarious. Those legs stole the show!
My kids are notoriously difficult to please when it comes to movies and shows -- they are either bored or so emotionally invested (i.e. scared, happy, moved, etc..) that they end up in tears or in fear of nightmares. But Shrek the Musical hit just the right mix of humor, adventure and entertainment; they absolutely loved it! I highly recommend this show -- as Shrek sings in his final number, "I'm a Believer"!
Shrek The Musical is currently playing at San Francisco's Orpheum Theatre until January 2, and will be touring major cities across the US in 2011. Click here to see the complete Shrek The Music tour schedule and to buy tickets to the show.
Disclosure: I received 4 complimentary tickets to see Shrek the Musical with my kids, but was not paid to review the show or give my opinions. Show information is provided by the featured company/product and is clearly indicated as such. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.