Of course, Shrek capitalizes on the popularity of several kid-oriented animated films about a goofy green ogre, a sort of comic, feel-good Frankenstein. (Nobody wants to give ugly a chance, it seems.) But Shrek offers plenty of humor for grown-up theater fans, poking fun at Wicked, The Lion King, Les Mis and more.
Even if you don’t care (or know) much about Shrek’s story, you’ll be entertained by Eric Petersen as the green hero. Wearing a ton of padding and makeup, he still manages to be funny and sympathetic — and, boy, can he belt out an ogre-sized song. He and Haven Burton, as the spunky, down-to-earth Princess Fiona, have a hilarious “can-you-top-this?” number about belching and farting. Alan Mingo Jr. is the sassy Donkey (a role originated by Eddie Murphy), with hooves for hands and more eye-rolling and smart talk than you’ll find on a school bus full of 10-year-olds. The show’s pint-sized villain, Lord Farquaad, featuring a Prince Valiant hairdo and spindly fake legs, is played by David F.M. Vaughan on his thinly disguised knees throughout, getting a ton of mileage out of the physical humor.
I’m still smiling, and I’m not the only one.
SHREK THE MUSICAL, presented by Broadway Across America, continues at the Aronoff through April 24.