Behind the Scenes of Shrek The Musical

By Manchester's Finest | 16 October 2014

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Time to make you green with envy…

When Manchester’s Finest got a special invite from a big Ogre for a sneak preview of what to expect when he comes to town, how could we refuse?

Yes, we can only be talking about one Ogre in particular…SHREK!

The stage version of the hit 2001 animated movie starring Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz, comes to Manchester this December spreading its fairytale magic across the festive period and into the New Year.

Shrek the Musical brings the film to life with original music, hilarious action and magnificent costumes. We caught up with the tour in Nottingham to go behind the scenes of the hit show which is travelling the UK after a successful run in London’s West End.

Starring as Princess Fiona is Faye Brookes last seen in Manchester taking on the lead role of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. The Flixton born actress, who is currently dating Pop Idol runner up Gareth Gates, took time out before her performance to tell us why she is so excited about her latest role.

We also caught up with two of the other stars of the show, Gerard Carey (Lord Farquaad) and Idriss Kargbo (Donkey) who can’t wait to come to Manchester with Shrek the Musical.

MF: Now Gerard your role requires you being on your knees the whole performance to play pint sized scheming Lord Farquaad. How physically demanding is it?

GC: It’s not easy but I’ve been blessed in the fact that Nigel Harman who has directed the tour had played the role in the West End so I had some good guidance even before we started rehearsals as to what areas of fitness I had to work on in preparation. I really had to sort out my core and find out the right ways to manoevre without getting injured. The role involves clenching my buttocks a lot, I’m hoping for buns of steel by the end of the run!

MF: Idriss how are you finding playing the role of Donkey?

IK: The responsibility of playing the part is hard as Donkey is such an iconic part of Shrek that everyone knows. Of course Eddie Murphy (who played Donkey in the film) is partly at the back of my mind and is one of my heroes but ultimately I have had to say to myself ‘this is how I play it’ and put the Idriss Kargbo stamp on it. I have quite a camp number in the second act where I get to dance and go crazy.

MF: How does the movie translate to the stage and are there any changes?

GC: What we do that the film doesn’t really do is we give you a back-story to all the characters and the reasons why they are this way so we learn why Lord Farquaad is mean. It’s about duality –the transfer of a Princess to an Ogre, how the characters may be fairytale favourites but they all have flaws or problems to deal with which is very true to life.

MF: Are you looking forward to Shrek’s run in Manchester?

GC: I just love being up North and the atmosphere and the people.

IK: There’s so much to explore and we can’t wait to be there over Christmas.

Verdict: After seeing the show in Nottingham Manchester’s Finest have to say it’s a magical treat and perfect for all the family this Christmas and New Year…you could say ‘We’re a Believer!’

Runs from 2nd December 2014 till 11th January 2015
Palace Theatre, Manchester.