Earlier this week, Dancap Productions treated the McCaig clan to opening night of Shrek The Musical in Toronto.
To be honest, I didn’t want to go. For every great movie to stage adaptation (ie Hairspray), there are at least 5 that are so excruciatingly painful, I’d rather take my eyes out than ever have to endure again (I’m looking at you Dirty Dancing.) So when you take a movie that to many of us is iconic, you run a big risk.
From the moment I walked through the door and had a pair of Shrek ears slapped on my head, I knew this show would be a different.
My six year old son is a self-professed Shrekspert, so while my 8 year old daughter wondered why the show opened differently from the movie, he was excited: “Mom, it’s just like the book!”
(Side note, everyone does know that Shrek was a book first, right? This might be a good time to put in a PSA for you to support your local libraries.)
The show’s worth the ticket price just to see what Merritt David Janes does as Farquaad. A brilliant performer channelling Martin Short and Monty Python, he was hands-down the adult favourite. The children voted Donkey their love, with the Gingerbread Man coming in a close second. But there’s also the tap dancing rats and the incredible Dragon. My husband actually challenged that the Dragon was better than WarHorse, and that’s a pretty hefty bar to beat.
The farting song may make some of the grown ups cringe but, after all, this is a show to come in to and laugh. It is not high art.
For a family show, it runs 2 ½ hours, and there are a few moments that feel long. But as my kids say: it’s really funny, there’s nothing scary, and if you like the movie you’ll for sure enjoy it.
Shrek The Musical is at the Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto till April 1st, and then makes a quick visit to London, Ontario before heading back to the States.