Review: In Your Face Theatre Seaham’s Shrek Jr

Review: In Your Face Theatre Seaham’s Shrek Jr

In Your Face Theatre Seaham’s Shrek Jr
Seaham Town Hall – 23rd May 2023

Photo Credit: Peter Fannen

Tonight, I have been totally enchanted by In Your Face Theatre Seaham’s production of Shrek Jr. You always get a lovely warm welcome from the hardworking front of house team including Dorothy Porteous and John Curtis. This is the youth version of the fabulous Dreamworks animated film which tells the tale of the ogre Shrek who is cast out at the tender age of seven to live in a swamp. Much to his annoyance he is invaded by all manner of fairy tale folk who have themselves been cast out of the kingdom of Duloc by the diminutive ruler Lord Farquaad.

In Your Face Theatre Seaham always put on a fantastic show and this one is no exception. The younger members have obviously put in a tremendous amount of work to bring this delightful story of understanding, acceptance and they all gloriously let their freak flags fly from the opening number through to the rousing and colourful finale. Community theatre relies on passionate younger members to raise their game and take the opportunities which are offered to them and this youth section have grabbed that baton with both hands and run with it, with their voices, their talent, and produced a wonderful ensemble piece where they are all clearly loving what they are doing from the three little pigs through the wicked witch to Shrek himself.

Shrek (Nathan Johnson) is a powerhouse in this production leading a wonderful array of talent throughout the cast. His duet with the lovely Fiona (Francesca Lundie) is a joy to listen to between the farts and the burps. Donkey (Aimee Curtis) provides a wonderfully gobby sidekick much to the annoyance of Shrek who does his level best to shake her off.

Seaham Town Hall is not a natural performance area for theatre and gives the technical team and creatives many a problem to overcome which they all do with an impressive degree of skill and ingenuity. Duncan Baxter provides the very efficient sound which, with a cast of forty, is no mean feat and Paul Oliver offers lighting wizardry that would impress even the largest theatre. I am not sure that playing the sound track from the film before the show starts is welcome or entirely necessary.

The directing team of Charlie Younger and Jenni Watson have worked wonders with this large cast and should be very proud of a job well done. Luke Baker and Kat Thompson along with a stage crew of seven did an amazing job and helped to keep the show running smoothly.

I would be here all night were I to mention everyone in the cast but I cannot leave this delightful production without mentioning a few people who either brought a smile to my face or made me feel warm and fuzzy by their performances. The three Fionas (Amelie Corner), (Abigale Slade) and adult Fiona sang beautifully in their song. The captain of the guard (Joel Oakley) managed to carry out the orders of Lord Farquaad with an officious air while offering a subtle hint that he was not too happy about it. Last but not least Orie Coulton Goodwin puts in a fantastic and adorable performance as the puppet Pinocchio – this lad is one to watch for the future as I have never seen him in a role at which he did not excel despite his age.

Many congratulations to the cast, crew and creatives on a brilliant performance that will delight all ages and I cannot recommend enough that you get along to see it. Being a junior version this show is presented in one act except I am told for the relaxed performance on Saturday afternoon when there will be an interval. Friday and Saturday night are already sold out so don’t miss your chance to see this production and I recommend that you book in advance rather than rely on tickets being available on the door.

In Your Face Theatre Seaham’s Shrek Jr runs at Seaham Town Hall until Saturday 27th May.

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