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Students set to put on Shrek spectacular at Churchill Theatre

PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 August 2019

Nadia Pettit Johnston (Fiona), Amelie Pettit-Johnston (Teen Fiona/Bo Peep), and Bella Pettit-Nascimento (Young Fiona/Thumbelina) getting ready for their Shrek spectacular. Picture: Churchill Theatre

Nadia Pettit Johnston (Fiona), Amelie Pettit-Johnston (Teen Fiona/Bo Peep), and Bella Pettit-Nascimento (Young Fiona/Thumbelina) getting ready for their Shrek spectacular. Picture: Churchill Theatre

Archant

Loveable ogre Shrek and his friends are coming to the Churchill Theatre.

Creative Learning are one of only a handful of amateur producers to be given the rights to perform Shrek the Musical in the UK this year.

This all-singing, all-dancing show has seen much success on both sides of the Atlantic since its debut on Broadway an incredible 11 years ago.

Of course, it is based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film, and book by William Steig.

Shrek The Musical tells the story of a cranky, swamp-loving ogre whose quiet solitude is disrupted when a group of loud, exuberant fairytale characters descend on his land uninvited.

Determined to be rid of the bothersome group, what ensues is an action-packed adventure for Shrek and his loyal steed Donkey, as they rescue the beautiful but particularly feisty Princess Fiona from the clutches of both the fire-breathing dragon and the ruthless and egotistical Lord Farquaad.

Creative Learning are staging it as their 2019 Summer Youth Production.

Due to the scale of the production, and with more than 120 young people involved in the show, each lead role will be shared by three performers across the three night run.

Daniel Pratten, Benedict King and Ben Salter will share the role of Shrek (voiced in the films by Mike Myers), while it will be down to Nadia Pettit-Johnson, Lucy Coop and Evie Hone to share the role of Fiona, played in the film by Cameron Diaz.

It all seems quite apt, considering Fiona's habit of switching personas depending on the position of the moon. It's almost like she's cursed. But as we all know, looks are not everything. Well, not most of the time.

And then it will be the responsibility of Lucy Miller, Karson Reynolds and Freya Millard to share the role of the hilarious wisecracking Donkey, played so well by Eddie Murphy in the movie.

A natural move as it went so well, the creative team behind last year's hugely successful Summer Youth Production of Bugsy Malone will reunite this year for Shrek The Musical.

That means Glenn Tillin is coming in as the director, Dan Beach will be the musical director and Kiaran Hall takes on the role of producer.

Also returning are Ellie Short as assistant producer, Larissa Webb as choreographer, Emma Jewell as head of wardrobe and costume design and Amy Almond as stage manager.

Discussing why Creative Learning particularly wanted to stage Shrek The Musical for this year's Summer Youth Production, Kiaran said: "This is an amazing opportunity to be one of the first companies in the country to produce such an iconic and popular show."

And if you know the movie inside out, and could even recite the lines before the actors have opened their mouths, think again.

Kiaran said: "All of the cast and creative team are excited to be working on such a beloved modern fairy tale and we will have a fair few surprises in store for our audiences."

Shrek The Musical premiered to much critical acclaim in America in late 2008, winning the Tony Award for Best Costume Design and three Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Actor In A Musical, Outstanding Set Design and Outstanding Costume Design.

The musical then transferred effortlessly to London's West End in 2011 and starred Nigel Lindsay, Amanda Holden and Nigel Harman, with the latter winning an Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical for his portrayal as Lord Farquaad.

Shrek The Musical was also filmed during its Broadway run, with a DVD of the show being released in October 2013.

Shrek The Musical is written by David Lindsay-Abaire, with lyrics by Jeanine Tesori. It was originally produced on Broadway by Dreamwork Theatricals and Neal Street Productions.

Shrek the Musical is at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley between August 8 and 10. Tickets from the box office on 020 3285 6000 or tickets@churchilltheatre.co.uk

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