West Union Performing Arts astounded audiences with Shrek the Musical. As the musical has only been available for amateur since the fall, this is one of the first such performances given. The play is told as though from a pop-up book in a child’s library. Thing 1 and Thing 2 from “The Cat in a Hat” come out between scenes to turn the pages of the book and change props.
The play follows the film version for the most with minor variations. Shrek, played by Senior Kade Miller, and Fiona, played by Junior Karma Collins, are introduced through childhood experiences of being kicked out of the house by his parents at the age of 7, a typical occurrence for ogre children, and Fiona is told by her royal parents that she is going to be locked away in a tower at the age of 7 until someone rescues her, again quite typical for fairy tale princesses. From there the story continues as expected for those who have watched the film.
Two key differences in the play version are the fact that the Dragon lets Shrek and company leave the castle, after she has fallen in love with Donkey, played by Junior Timmy Snider, rather than the group needing to barely escape. The most important difference, though, is Lord Farquad, played by Senior Eli Bedel, has more background explaining his personality. We discover that he is the son of one of the Seven Dwarves and Snow White, and his issues with his father and short stature has given him a sever inferiority complex.
The production quality is fantastic with numerous props and set pieces use to bring the story to life. The pop-up book elements, which are not in the original script, are quite clever and a great deal of work was needed to build the story book with turning pages. The Dragon is a giant puppet with glowing green eyes. Stage hands inside the dragon move it around the floor, while another stage hand lies in the head, moving the mouth and blinking the eyes.
If you missed the first weekend performances, Shrek the Musical will be shown 7 p.m. Friday, May 2, and Saturday, May 3, at the high school.
Paul Hannah can be reached at (937) 544-2391.