The stage adaptation of the Dreamworks animated hit "Shrek" has no business working, but it does, and just barely. This is mainly attributable to the rock solid quartet of performances at the helm of this very expensive looking musical. Brian d'Arcy James portrays the title character with irreverent nobility that makes one cheer for the ogre. Sutton Foster is in great voice and is an absolute knockout as Princess Fiona; this ultra talented performer oozes natural charisma that begs to be applauded. There's real chemistry between Brian and Fiona here. Additionally, Daniel Breaker and Christopher Sieber as the donkey sidekick and miniature villain, respectively, are giving rather memorable comic turns. This show comes with a reportedly $24 million price tag, and it sure looks it; the lush designs are constantly on the move, and the costumes are wittily spot on. The major flaw, and it's rather large one, is that for much of the show, our hero Shrek is a reactionary character and very rarely is he a catalyst for the plot. Given the picaresque nature of the show, this deficiency has a deflating effect on the proceedings. However, the top notch performances, eye candy, and a barrage of musical theater references cover much of the holes.
Rating: *** (out of *****)