The Lower Ossington Theatre’s (LOT) production of Shrek the Musical is well suited to families, or anyone having to entertain some ankle-biters for an evening. Conversely, Shrek-like curmudgeons like myself will probably react to the cries of glee from the children in the audience with “Get out of my swamp, families!”
If you’ve seen the movie Shrek, you’ll get the swamp reference. There’s little I need to say about the plot; it’s Shrek. If you’ve seen Shrek, enjoyed it, want to see it again (and don’t mind a crowd of mostly children), you’ll enjoy the musical. The kids in the audience certainly did, and despite being a child-averse ogre, I found myself snickering from time to time.
Of course, not everyone is a big green monster like me, and many people have families and want to go out and spend time with them. There’s a lot going on in Toronto’s queer community — a lot more than people generally admit — but few family-oriented activities. Shrek the Musical is an event to which queer parents can take their kids.
The production itself is high quality. It’s at the Randolph Theatre, whose high ceilings and old-fashioned décor are very charming, and the singing and acting are superb, which is remarkable, considering how young many of the actors are.
From the stellar performances of Andrew Soutter (who plays Lord Farquaad) and Michelle Nash (playing Princess Fiona) to the playful sets and costumes, the LOT brings Shrek to life in a way that should give pleasure to families, the young at heart, and Shrek fanatics.