Nomads Musical Theatre: Shrek, at the Corn Exchange from Wednesday, October 4 to Saturday 7
Review by SALLY HALL
FROM the moment you enter the Corn Exchange, with its buzz of excited anticipation, you know a special evening of entertainment awaits.
Nomads Musical Theatre’s production of Shrek: The Musical proves that theatre is very much alive – and definitely kicking – in Newbury.
The show had everything: fantastic sets and props which were moved with efficient grace by the backstage team; fabulous costumes for the whole cast of nearly 50 performers; wonderful, spirited music provided by a talented 15-strong orchestra (some of whom played several instruments during the evening); atmospheric lighting and sound to add interest and variety and, of course, excellent performances from every one of the team on stage.
The principals brought sparkling brilliance to their roles, with Shrek, played by Neil Harvey, excelling at the light and shade of the ogre’s loving but irascible personality.
He has a lovely voice, which was particularly effective in the more melodious numbers.
Hannah Maskell deserves equal praise for her spirited, fun-loving Fiona, as does Pete Warbis, as Donkey, who had big hooves to fill, and did so with aplomb.
And who can forget Stuart Honey’s Lord Farquaad, with the ongoing joke of the tall chap playing a three-foot tyrant?
The scene where he arrived on a horse, with all the business of getting on and off, was hilarious. It must have been great fun to play, but I feel for Stuart’s knees by the end of the run!
The chorus numbers were well-choreographed by Alison Hoult: lively and colourful, with some lovely characters coming out in the fairytale creatures, but special mention must go to Caitlyn Maskell, who played Dragon. It is her first named role with Nomads and her voice is so beautiful that her song Forever was my favourite in the show.
Director Amanda Maskell did an excellent job, along with Nic Cope as musical director, the resulting show overflowing with humour and melody inclusive for all ages.
Shrek celebrates diversity and being who you are, and leaves you feeling uplifted: Nomads should be truly proud to have produced such a joyous experience.