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Canterbury: Shrek the Musical with Amelia Lily comes to Kent

By Angela Cole

It’s a musical comedy with a very big, green star. Shrek! The Musical the all-singing, all-dancing, must-see musical comedy is based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation feature film which starred Mike Myers as the ogre who rescues a princess from a tall tower - just to get 100 fairytale creatures out of his beloved swamp.

Based originally on William Steig’s book Shrek! it was seen by almost 800,000 people on its first tour in 2014, which took in 25 venues in 20 months. Amelia Lily, who found fame in The X-Factor takes on the role of Princess Fiona - played by Cameron Diaz in the film - while alongside her will be Steffan Harri as swamp-dwelling ogre Shrek.

Marcus Ayton stars as Shrek’s wisecracking sidekick Donkey, and Samuel Holmes as pint-sized villain Lord Farquaad - look out for his little legs. We spoke to Amelia Lily ahead of the show's opening night...

Shrek and Princess Fiona Picture: Tristram Kenton
Shrek and Princess Fiona Picture: Tristram Kenton

Amelia Lily’s living the dream when it comes to playing the role of Princess Fiona in Shrek. She started out as a singer on The X-Factor - and shows off her pipes plenty in Shrek! The Musical - but acting was her first love.

“After I did The X-Factor everyone was asking me about singing, and I realise people see me as a pop star but I’ve been doing musicals for four or five years now and this is what I actually wanted to do.

“It has been wonderful. It is just incredible to play Princess Fiona - it’s been on my bucket list. I feel so lucky. It was my dream job.

“Although it is a fairytale it isn’t a traditional fairytale and there is a great message. There are so many different characters in life, and it’s alright to be different. There is a song in the show which says how we are all a bunch of freaks and it is OK to be different. It sends an amazing message to the audience and so does the film. Coming out at the end and hearing the crowd’s reaction every night is absolutely amazing. And we have got an incredibly cast and Steffan who plays Shrek has got the Scottish accent perfectly.”

Amelia Lily as Princess Fiona in Shrek! The Musical Picture: Tristram Kenton
Amelia Lily as Princess Fiona in Shrek! The Musical Picture: Tristram Kenton

Amelia finished third in the eighth series of The X-Factor in 2011. Her debut single You Bring Me Joy reached No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart. Theatre roles since have included the narrator in Joseph And His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Whatsername in the West End premiere of Green Day’s punk rock musical American Idiot. She was also the runner-up of the 2017 edition of Celebrity Big Brother. Of this new role, she added: “I had my first taste of performing as Princess Fiona back in 2012 for Children In Need special. So when the opportunity came up to reprise the role, I jumped at the chance.”

It has also meant a different look, as Fiona is a red head. “A lot of people have said the red hair suits me and I did go to the hairdressers and was going to make a really brave move, but my mum got there and said ‘No, you’re a blonde!’ Maybe one day in the future...”

Steffan Harri as Shrek
Steffan Harri as Shrek

Amelia will be in Canterbury next week with the tour, just six months after playing Tinkerbell in panto in the county, at Maidstone Studios.

The only downside to touring? “I have to leave my three little chihuahuas with my mum and dad - but they are great with them.”

DETAILS

Shrek is at the Marlowe Theatre from Wednesday, July11 to Sunday, July 22. For tickets priced from £26.25 call 01227 787787, and visit marlowetheatre.com.

Samuel Holmes as Lord Farquaad Picture: Helen Maybanks
Samuel Holmes as Lord Farquaad Picture: Helen Maybanks

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