by Jessie Yu – Cappies Review
Following the renowned story of an antisocial ogre who finds himself on a quest to save a princess, Falls Church High School’s “Shrek The Musical” demonstrates that everyone has layers, and it’s crucial to look past physical appearances and differences in order to truly get to know someone.
Carson Hopkins took on the titular role with stride, embodying the familiar character through an impressive accent that he maintained throughout the show. Hopkins portrayed Shrek’s arc from a crude, brusque recluse to a hesitant friend and lover with realistic vulnerability and emotional vocals in numbers such as “Who I’d Be” and “When Words Fail.” The quirky chemistry that developed between him and Fiona, played by Eileanora Clock, carried the romance of the plot with endearing humor.
Meanwhile, Patrick Kearney elevated his sidekick status as Donkey with gregarious clinginess that grew on both the audience and a softening Shrek. Scampering about and rolling all over the stage, Kearney kept the energy up and jokes going. Another notable performance that had the audience erupting into laughter was by Adam Ashley as the arrogant Lord Farquaad. Certainly not short on talent, Ashley delivered the petulant caricature of a dictator with ostentatious mannerisms and movements – all while on his knees.
Although there were some technical difficulties with sound and at times the orchestra would occasionally overpower the actors onstage, overall, the musical performances were successfully entertaining.
The visual aspects were what really brought this show together. The multilevel set was elaborately decorated to transform the stage from a muggy swamp to a gaudy castle and back again. The larger-than-life dragon’s head was evidently crafted with meticulous care and added a thrilling aspect to the scene of Fiona’s wedding with Farquaad when it appeared and blanketed the stage with billowing smoke.
Showing that conventional heroes are ogre-rated and that anyone can find love, the cast and crew of Falls Church High School created a production that was big, bright, and beautiful for everyone to enjoy.