Hippodrome's young stars shine in feel-good stage adaptation of Oscar-winning DreamWorks film

Levi Martin and Bella Withnell in Shrek the Musical Jr, presented by Pendle Hippodrome Youth Theatre. Photo credit: Sarah Redman Photography.
Levi Martin and Bella Withnell in Shrek the Musical Jr, presented by Pendle Hippodrome Youth Theatre. Photo credit: Sarah Redman Photography.
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A new generation of rising stars transformed the Hippodrome into the “big, bright, beautiful world” of Shrek.

This entertaining musical, hosted by Pendle Hippodrome Youth Theatre, is full of joy and laughter, spreading a feel-good message that is perfect for summer.

Shrek the Musical Jr is a stage adaptation of the 2001 Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film which stars Hollywood heavyweights Cameron Diaz, Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy.

A global smash-hit, it grossed $484.4m. and landed the first ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

It follows ogre Shrek and his loyal companion Donkey as they attempt to rescue Princess Fiona from the watch of a dragon.

The musical is nothing to sniff at either, having created it’s own blockbuster storm that swept across the UK and Ireland on a record-breaking tour.

Shrek is an ambitious project for any theatre company, but especially when the cast is school-aged and has just 12 weeks to put a show together.

There were some issues with mics and projection but the cast was full of confidence and charisma and the tale bounced along with energy and enthusiasm, thanks to both the skilful performers and the wonderful talents of choreographer Cathryn Osbourne.

Cathryn has once again brought the stage alive with wonder and merriment in physical form.

Actor Levi Martin delivered a convincing Scottish accent as he stepped into the shoes of Mike Myers to play Shrek while lovely vocals came from Bella Withnell as Princess Fiona.

Flexing his comical muscles, Lewis Mumby sparkled in the flamboyant role of Donkey. He seemed unintimidated by Eddie Murphy’s iconic part as the voice of Donkey in the original film.

Lewis’ star quality shone through and he proved himself to be a multi-talented dancer, singer and actor.

Comical stars were also found in James Crickmore, who played the evil Lord Farquaad, and Grace Mumby, who depicted the wooden puppet, Pinocchio.

And Caeragh Mccloy showcased her powerful vocals as the Dragon. A music career must surely be on the cards for this talented singer.

Applause must also go to the supporting cast and chorus, including: Polly Gedling (Gingy); Eden Barritt (Storyteller); Jessica Austin (Teen Fiona); Thalia Kerkine-Keraminda (Young Fiona); Scarlett Simmonite (Momma Ogre); Kaden Doult (Poppa Ogre and Peter Pan); Katie Mcmillan (Momma Bear); Ashley Brennand (Poppa Bear); Kasie Thompson (Baby Bear); Shaun Mcmillan (Wolf); Evie Burrows, Emma Coulson, Jessica Coulson (Three Little Pigs); Natalie Barritt (Witch); Henry Gorman (Captain of the Guards); and Eleanor Crickmoore (Ugly Duckling).

Musical director Laura Schofield is not long a graduate of the youth theatre herself, Shrek being her first ever stab at directing. She is proof theatre boss Julie Scott has a winning formula when it comes to the growth of her students.

With the help of the highly skilled George Bailey, Laura has created a fun and lively show, which young and old will fall in love with. It’s exciting to see what she will come up with next.

Photo by Sarah Redman Photography.