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We review Shrek the Musical starring former Strictly dancer Joanne Clifton at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury

Shrek, Donkey, and all the other magical creatures from Duloc have arrived in Canterbury with a bang!

Shrek the Musical is playing at the Marlowe Theatre this week and it’s the perfect show for all the family.

Shrek the Musical starring Joanne Clifton is on tour. Picture: Marc Brenner
Shrek the Musical starring Joanne Clifton is on tour. Picture: Marc Brenner

With beautiful and accurate costumes, incredible singing voices, dancing routines and even skilled puppeteers, the stage musical is a must-see.

The much-loved animated Dreamworks film, which was released back in 2001, became a huge hit and spawned three sequels and two spin-off films.

The Academy Award-winning franchise is known for its star-studded cast, including Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas.

It has now been made into a show, which features music by Tony Award-nominated composer Jeanine Tesori and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire.

The story, which has been adapted from the original plot, follows anti-social ogre Shrek who sets off on a quest with his four-legged sidekick, Donkey, to rescue a princess in exchange for getting rid of the fairytale creatures that have taken over his beloved swamp.

Shrek the Musical. Picture: Marc Brenner
Shrek the Musical. Picture: Marc Brenner

The set design at The Marlowe can only be described as something out of a fairy tale, clever props and just as stellar visual effects really help the audience, of all ages, immerse themselves within Shrek’s swampy world.

The incredible soundtrack also helps with the fantasy atmosphere and pairs perfectly with lyrics that tell not only a love story but a journey of self-acceptance.

The UK tour sees Strictly Come Dancing champ Joanne Clifton star as Princess Fiona.

Since leaving the BBC dance competition - which she won with TV presenter Ore Oduba - in 2016, the former ballroom and Latin professional has appeared in a number of stage shows such as Thoroughly Modern Millie, the Rocky Horror Show and the Addams Family.

In 2021, she also took on the role of the Fairy in the Marlowe Theatre’s Christmas pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk.

Shrek and Donkey in Shrek The Musical
Shrek and Donkey in Shrek The Musical

She is performing in Shrek alongside a cast of West End actors, including Antony Lawrence (The Lion King), James Gillan (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie) and Brandon Lee Sears (Dreamgirls).

All the cast members had incredible sets of lungs on them, there wasn’t a single dull note.

The range Donkey could sing and perform with was just fantastic - and his hilarious demeanour got lots of laughs.

Not only were the main characters great but those in the background also had such incredible talent.

It is hard to give all the cast the appreciation they deserved when they were each smashing their character’s personalities, I didn’t know where to look at times.

Shrek the Musical is showing at The Marlowe. Picture: Marc Brenner
Shrek the Musical is showing at The Marlowe. Picture: Marc Brenner

Lord Farquaad stole the show, his cheeky comments and quick humour interacted with the crowd wonderfully and there was even a moment where a lucky kid in the audience caught a teddy he threw towards them.

With fart jokes, a smidge of adult humour and lots of homages to the original movie that everyone knows and loves, Shrek The Musical is a must for all fans of singing, dancing and all things ogre!

Shrek the Musical will be at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury until Saturday, May 4. You can book tickets online here.

You can also book tickets by calling 01227 787787.

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