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Shrek Jnr - Excelsior Primary School

Updated: Sep 24, 2023

Reviewed by Chris McRae

 

If there was a shining example of the absolute joy that comes from performing onstage and children enjoying every single moment of the experience, Excelsior Primary School’s production of ‘Shrek The Musical Junior’ was definitely it. From the moment the curtain opened, the smiles and sheer delight on these young performers’ faces was worth the price of admission alone.


Performed at the Don Russell Performing Arts Centre (a great opportunity for the students to perform in a high-quality venue), Director and Musical Director (no easy feat managing both) Tara Oorjitham and Assistant Director Simone Hall adeptly choreographed a highly entertaining show with 60+ students.


The story follows Shrek the Ogre (a very likeable and energetic Ethan Forbes) who goes on an adventure to the Kingdom of Far Far Away to regain his Swamp from fairytale creatures. Along the way, he meets Donkey (Ethan Fairfield, in a hilarious, mile-a-minute performance) who becomes his trusty sidekick, must rescue Princess Fiona (Myah Silva in a beautifully sassy and powerful performance) from the clutches of a fire-breathing Dragon (A very fun Sophie Mosey-Weate), and avoid the evil Lord Farquaad (a hilariously physically comedic Henrik Svean).


The costuming in this production was brilliantly colourful and the costume team of Anna Laube-Muraszko, Cheryl Horsley and Tracy Littlefair have clearly worked tirelessly to ensure every child was made to feel part of something special. Several standouts were the hilarious ‘short’ costumes complete with tiny manoeuvrable shoes for Lord Farquaad and his Father (crowd favourites) and the pot bellies and beards of the dwarves. The costuming and makeup/facepaint of Shrek, Donkey and Princess Fiona created beautifully colourful characters. The amount of time and effort that went into the costuming was outstanding and is to be commended.


The chorus numbers were jovial and allowed each ensemble group to shine in their own moments. There were also several strong soloists including multiple from Myah Silva who has a bright future on the stage. Occasionally young performers tend to drop their volume and so, at times, there were some lyrics and lines that were a little hard to hear. However, this comes with time, and students of this age are still learning all about projection and articulation. There were some wonderful moments of clarity and the cast are to be congratulated on this.


When it comes to character, there were some brilliantly fun characters in the show and each of them had some great moments including the loveable Bears, the comedic fairytale characters (well done Pinnochio and Gingy in particular for maintaining those high-pitched voices), an evil yet very likeable Witch and a brilliantly funny Duloc Ensemble, Knights, Trees and even more. Always remember to smile and show character in every moment as you never know where your audience will be looking. A great thing to remember is acting is reacting and many of the ensemble members demonstrated this in the larger group scenes. Amazing work to the small army of choreographers Mel Podgorny, Bron Edmonds, Sophie Brennan, Sinead Chidlow, Chantel Pereira, Bron Scott and Tara Oorjitham for creating movements, dances and ensemble work that was appropriate to students’ abilities and made clever use of the stage space.


The set and props were simple and very effective thanks to the work of Jo Thompson, Danielle Davison, Phil Crofts and the students themselves. Digital backdrops which were hand-drawn by the students were a beautiful touch and gave the kids themselves the chance to bring these fairytale locations to life.


Overall, ‘Shrek The Musical Junior’ was a testament to the hard work of the Staff and Students of Excelsior Primary School and was a wonderful celebration of what can be achieved in the Arts from a young age with passion, hard work and creativity. Congratulations Excelsior Primary School on going green!!


Myah Silva as Princess Fiona. Image provided.

Reviewer Note: Tickets for this show were provided by the school.

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