By Ruvesen Naidoo
Everyone’s favourite ogre is setting up swamp at the Kingswood Theatre for the National Arts Festival.
Heaps of green paint used on the faces of both Shrek and Fiona, a flamboyant and loveable dragon, and multiple (well-designed) costume changes. These are just some of the things you can expect to see on display from a much-loved animated film, adapted into a live musical show.
Shrek the Musical JR is more than just an adaptation of the 2001 film Shrek 1. A product of the Sonwa Sakuba Institute for the Performing Arts in East London, the show is performed by an all-kids cast who are active in the institute’s kids and training programme.
Unlike the animated version of the movie, which many will say is a favourite within their homes, Shrek the Musical JR found itself performing for a packed house who, judging by expressions and chatter during the show, were unsettled by the low-voice projection of the performers and the overly loud backing tracks which often took attention away from the delivery of musical moments throughout the show.
Still, the ensemble, which featured the likes of three very sassy, blind mice and a very talkative Pinocchio, were able to deliver a quality performance which was pleasantly received by the kid’s giggles throughout.
Although the performance is limited to an hour, it moved quickly through scenes while still maintaining its ability to tell the familiar storyline.
Being one of the very few shows that place families as their ideal target audience during this year’s Festival, Shrek the Musical JR is a delivery of well-executed storytelling, that despite a few shortcomings (no pun intended), was able to make an impression on its audience through the use of simple, yet creative backdrop design that replicates the turning of a page in a storybook.