MY young son and I left Shanklin Theatre singing I’m A Believer at the top of our voices after watching an evening performance of Shrek the Musical by the Island Savoyards last week.

It’s been over 20 years since the first Shrek film’s release, and we were excitedly expecting an epic romp packed with unlikely friendships, great jokes, and a lively soundtrack – and, true to form, the Savoyards brought the tale to life in style.

Luke Cumberpatch was excellent as the lovable ogre Shrek – larger than life and often grumpy, but with a burning desire to protect his swamp.

Accomplished stage actor Emily Scotcher has taken on many a challenging character and she was great in the role of Princess Fiona, the feisty female with a dark secret - and showed a streak of competitiveness when it came to producing the best burps, farts and high vocal notes. 

Isle of Wight County Press: Holly Gardiner as The Dragon. Luke Cumberpatch as Shrek. Ches Checkley as Donkey. Emily Scotcher as Princess Fiona.Holly Gardiner as The Dragon. Luke Cumberpatch as Shrek. Ches Checkley as Donkey. Emily Scotcher as Princess Fiona. (Image: Rodger Hooper)

No Shrek tale is complete without the fabulous Donkey – and Chas Checkley earned a lot of laughs as the endlessly annoying, but adorable ass.

Daniel Farmer did an incredible job as Lord Farquaad in this physically demanding role – especially when he was working out, and in the horse-riding scene.

Alfie Luke made an impressive debut with the Savoyards as Pinocchio, with his comically expanding nose; while Ellie Warne was good as the voice of Gingy, and I loved Holly Gardiner as the Dragon – her singing was truly enchanting as the stage crew moved the massive dragon puppet around the stage.

Isle of Wight County Press: Brilliant costumes in Shrek the MusicalBrilliant costumes in Shrek the Musical (Image: Rodger Hooper)

There was a lively cast of fairytale creatures, plus a young Fiona and a teenage Fiona locked in the tower, and who could forget the Duloc Dancers.

Directed by Sarah Scotcher, this show had everything we have come to expect from the Island Savoyards – great costumes, a full orchestra under the direction of Andrew Woodford, cracking choreography by Jake Alabaster and a clever use of props and space.

I was particularly struck by the plastic horse, complete with an audible reversing warning, as well as the exploding bird, the cottage in the woods where Fiona revealed her secret to Donkey, and the tap-dancing rats. All these elements lifted the show to the next level.

Full marks to the Savoyards for this highly enjoyable rendition of Shrek the Musical.

Isle of Wight County Press: Luke Cumberpatch as ShrekLuke Cumberpatch as Shrek (Image: Rodger Hooper)