Shrek the Musical on UK tour
Ogre fairytale goes from screen to stage
Quick changes are a part of life in the theatre, but anyone who has seen the first Shrek film will know that Fiona’s transformation from traditional beauty to green ogre is far from subtle.
‘It takes 90 seconds and it’s awful,’ laughs Faye Brooks, who plays the part of Fiona in the UK tour of Shrek the Musical. ‘I put on the same dress but it’s padded, the make-up artist transforms me with ogre ears and green paint, I pull on a green cowl and fat hands and then, eureka, I’m back on stage again.'
Brooks describes it as 90 seconds of madness for both herself and her entourage. ‘But I honestly love the fact that I’ve worked my way through the story to that point,’ she continues. ‘Fiona has a constant fear of being found out and can’t show her true colours, because she thinks that she’s not beautiful. But by the end, she’s been through so much, the transformation makes sense, and it shocks people in the right way.’
The actor playing Shrek, on the other hand, has two hours of make-up before every show, eating daintily between matinees and evening performances so as not to crack the silicone. It’s all part of the challenge to bring the film alive authentically on stage and then add another layer of entertainment.
‘We respect the film, and how children and adults are taken away by this fairytale,’ says Brooks. ‘But then the live songs give it a little bit extra. Audiences are familiar with the story, but when you see it in a theatre, it’s as if you’re a part of the whole production, and it really takes you there.
‘With a film you can hit pause or switch it off; with this, it’s non-stop in your face. And in the show nothing is done by halves: it’s all big.’
King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 29 Apr—Sun 17 May and Edinburgh Playhouse, Tue 20 Oct—Sun 8 Nov.