Arts + Entertainment

Shrek The Musical at The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

SHREK THE MUSICAL® has arrived, stomping into 2018 with a critically acclaimed new UK and Ireland tour. The larger-than-life production will be returning to Marlowe Theatre from Wednesday 11 July – Sunday 22 July 2018.

‘A wise-cracking monster of a show’
The Herald, Scotland

CREDIT Helen Maybanks

Leading the cast as beloved swamp-dwelling ogre ‘Shrek’ is Steffan Harri, having previously starred in the original UK tour of SHREK THE MUSICAL®, and actor and recording artist Amelia Lily who plays ‘Princess Fiona’. Marcus Ayton stars as Shrek’s wisecracking sidekick ‘Donkey’ and Samuel Holmes as pint-sized villain ‘Lord Farquaad’.

The company of fairy-tale characters includes Adam Baker, Ethan Bradshaw, Michael Carolan, Joseph Dockree, Will Hawksworth, Sarah-Louise Jones, Reece Kerridge, Thomas Lee Kidd, Amy Oxley, Jemma Revell, Lucinda Shaw, Sam Stones, Adam Taylor, Jennifer Tierney, Sophie Wallis, Francesca Williams, Laura Wilson and Kevin Yates.

‘A Shrek-tacular show with a top cast’
Manchester Evening News

Steffan Harri starred in the first ever UK tour of Shrek the Musical, covering the role of Lord Farquaad. West End theatre credits include Les Misérables (Queen’s Theatre), Spamalot (Playhouse Theatre) and Children of Eden (Prince of Wales Theatre). Steffan also played Lyn in Welsh language soap opera Rownd a Rownd. 

Amelia Lily first rose to fame on The X Factor, finishing third on the eighth series in 2011. Her debut single ‘You Bring Me Joy’ reached number two on the UK Singles Chart. Theatre credits include the Narrator in Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (UK Tour), Whatsername in the West End premiere of Green Day’s hit punk rock musical American Idiot (Arts Theatre & UK Tour) and Shout! (Winter Gardens Blackpool). Most recently Amelia was runner up in the 2017 edition of Celebrity Big Brother.

Marcus Ayton’s recent credits include Sammy Davis Jr in The Rat Pack Live, Ray Charles in A Tribute to the Brothers Live and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (UK Tour).

Samuel Holmes most recently starred as George in the UK Tour of The Wedding Singer. Other stage credits include Mrs Henderson Presents (Theatre Royal Bath; Noel Coward Theatre), Water Babies (Curve Theatre), Spamalot (Playhouse Theatre), Kiss Me Kate (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Crazy for You (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre; Novello Theatre). 

 ‘THE show you will still be talking about come the end of the year and the one you’ll want to watch again and again’
What’s On North East

Credit Helen Maybanks

Nigel Harman will return as director, having made his directorial debut on SHREK THE MUSICAL’s first UK and Ireland Tour. Best known for his television and stage work, Nigel Harman originated the role of Lord Farquaad in the West End production, winning the Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical. Television credits include heart-throb Dennis Rickman in EastEnders, villainous valet Mr Green in Downton Abbey and Bradley in Sky’s Mount Pleasant, which aired its sixth series in Autumn 2016. Notable stage appearances include Jamie Lloyd’s production of Three Days of Rain alongside James McAvoy, Privates on Parade at the Donmar Warehouse and A Chorus of Disapproval, directed by Trevor Nunn.  

Nigel Harman says: ‘I had so much fun directing the original UK & Ireland Tour that I jumped at the chance to work on it again. Shrek the Musical has created pivotal moments in my career – firstly winning an Olivier and then my directorial debut. It’s certainly become one of the classic family musicals of all time and I’m really proud to be a part of it’.

Join our unlikely hero Shrek and his loyal steed Donkey as they embark on a quest to rescue the beautiful (if slightly temperamental) Princess Fiona from a fire-breathing, love-sick dragon. Add the diminutive Lord Farquaad, a gang of fairytale misfits and a biscuit with attitude, and you’ve got the biggest, brightest musical comedy around! Featuring all new songs as well as cult Shrek anthem I’m a Believer, SHREK THE MUSICAL® brings over 100 much-loved fairytale characters, plus a 14-foot dragon, to life in an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza.

 “A colourful, fun-packed family show with a great message for kids, I can’t recommend Shrek The Musical highly enough”
Northampton Chronicle

SHREK THE MUSICAL® is based on the story and characters from William Steig’s book Shrek! and the Oscar®-winning DreamWorks Animations feature film. Originally directed in the West End by Jason Moore and Rob Ashford, the production has book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, music by Jeanine Tesori with multi award-winning set and costume design by Tim Hatley.

The UK and Ireland tour of the original DreamWorks Production is presented by the original West End production team Neal Street Productions and Playful Productions with Ron Kastner, Saracen Films, Tulchin/Bartner Productions, Gavin Kalin, Glass Half Full Productions/Just For Laughs Theatricals, Lee Menzies and Mark Cartwright

SHREK THE MUSICAL® was seen by nearly 800,000 people on its first highly acclaimed UK and Ireland tour in 2014, visiting 25 major venues over 20 months. The production was first staged in the UK at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2011. Since opening on Broadway in 2008 SHREK THE MUSICAL®  has toured to nearly 150 cities in the USA and Canada, with productions having also played in Spain, Poland, France, Malaysia, China, Brazil, Italy, Denmark, The Netherlands, Estonia, Israel and Turkey.



What do you hope to bring to the role of Princess Fiona?

So many incredible females have taken on the role and have put their own stamp on it and I’d love to do the same. I’m quite young, only being 23, so I definitely want to bring a young essence to the part and just have fun with it.

What do you think the musical offers that the film doesn’t?

You really feel like you’re a part of the stage production. The beauty of Shrek is that it’s suitable for anyone of any age but when you go and watch something live, you feel more involved and, as an audience member, it’s so important to feel like you’re a part of the show.

You’ve been on tour as both a musical theatre performer and as a solo artist, what do you most and least enjoy about touring?

My least favourite part is travelling! Travelling tires you out and when you’re doing eight shows a week, the last thing you want to be is tired. Saying that, I find touring really exciting because you get to see all these different places around the country.

If you could play any other character in the show, who would you want to play?

It would have to be Donkey. When I was younger, he was always my favourite in the film, with Eddie Murphy bringing so much humour to the character. I’ve been quoting his scenes since I was a little girl so it would definitely have to be him. I’ve known Marcus for years who’s playing Donkey on the tour, I’ll have to ask him one day if he wants to swap roles one evening!

CREDIT Helen Maybanks

How does it feel to be joining the tour of Shrek the Musical?

Shrek is such an upbeat and energetic show and I’m really looking forward to it because it’s so iconic. Shrek is famous all around the world and to step into a role like Princess Fiona is just amazing. It’s a dream come true for me and I think I’m going to have such a laugh on stage.

Was a stage career something you ever envisaged after your success on the X Factor?

Before I entered the X Factor, I was looking to go to drama school so a stage career was always on the cards. The fact that the X Factor happened was a blessing in disguise as it got my foot in the door and gave me so many opportunities. Now, to be able to go down the route that I always planned has just been incredible. This is my fourth musical and I’m very grateful I was able to do both music and musical theatre.

How would you describe the show to someone who hasn’t seen Shrek on stage before?

If you want to go to the theatre and leave with a smile on your face and have a blast all the way through, then this is the show for you. You don’t even have to be a Shrek fan – it’s an amazing piece of theatre, and I’ve never heard a soundtrack like it. It’s one of my favourite musical theatre soundtracks and it appeals to all ages.

What’s your favourite moment or song in the show and why?

The first time I heard ‘I Think I Got You Beat’ I couldn’t stop laughing because Princess Fiona and Shrek have a burping and farting competition. I was in hysterics and, to be quite honest, I don’t know how I’m going to do that without laughing on stage, so that’s definitely one of my favourite songs. I love the whole soundtrack and I think it’s very rare to love every song equally.

Why should everyone come and see Shrek the Musical?

We’ve got an incredible cast and I feel so lucky to be working with them and the director, Nigel Harman. It’s a great company with so much talent and so much joy as well. This is such a big show and for me, it’s a dream come true. I can’t wait to get on the road and have the best time.

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

Shrek is taking up most of my time from now until the end of the year. No doubt I’ll start a Christmas panto at the end of the year but this is definitely my main priority right now.

What drew you to the part of Princess Fiona?

What I love about Princess Fiona is that she is not your average princess. She wears the iconic green dress but still has this tomboy element to her character which I relate to. I remember watching Shrek for the first time and loving her unpredictable nature. Shrek is not your average fairytale yet it’s set in this fairytale land with lots of famous fairytale characters. I would definitely say I’m like Fiona in many ways and I can’t wait to wear a princess frock every night AND burp on stage!

Shrek The Musical is at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury from 11-22 July
01227 787787

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