Creating a full-scale spectacular Shrek
shrek the musical
He’s big, he’s green, he’s certainly enormous fun…but how do you bring something new to something as famous and familiar as Shrek?
To be more precise, that’s Shrek the Musical, the live stage version of the Hollywood animation hit about a grumpy but surprisingly sympathetic troll and his adventures with a talking donkey and a princess with a secret.
STOS Musical Theatre Company are presenting the regional amateur premiere of the show at Sheffield’s Lyceum next week and are promising audience everything they expect, from spectacular dragons to magical transformations.
Yet Mark Feakins, the man directing the show, is best known for presenting shows like Made in Dagenham and Jekyll and Hyde where it might be best to describe the style as stripped back or minimalist - not the stuff that fairy tale extravaganzas are made of.
“Well, you can’t approach a show like Shrek the Musical with a blanket and a bench!” Mark laughs.
“It’s got to be full on, full scale, a spectacular production with all the things that people who are familiar with the original and remember expect to see.”
He points out, though, that beneath the spectacle, there is also a fascinating, funny and even moving story about two kids who are sent away by their parents, one to live alone in a swamp and the other to live in a tower..
“And they both discover the world and friendship and each other through their adventures and discover also that it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, you can still be beautiful.”
And even though it is a long way from his more stripped back style, he adds that he is thoroughly enjoying the experience of tackling a show that demands a real wow factor.
“You do have the challenge of giving the audience visually what they expect,” he says.
And a production like this one from STOS has one extra thing that the professional tours doesn’t have - a suitably large cast
“I would say we have a cast of nearly 50, while the professional touring version probably had around a dozen - in fact we probably have a bigger cast than in the West End even.”
Shrek The Musical is at the Lyceum Sheffield from Tuesday to Saturday, November 12 to 16.