Well, what a stimulating night I have just had!
Returning back to my favourite local theatre – the gorgeous Brindley Theatre in Runcorn- the long absence of attending live theatre has had its toll on me and to be back to see live theatre feels like Christmas has come early! To see an amateur theatre company, who I have never seen before- “D & S productions”, turn a masterpiece of theatre into a phenomenal piece of theatre and to see such amazing costumes, stage sets and pure talent on stage has been a fulfilling dream come true.
“D & S Productions” is a company founded by two inspirational friends Donna Dale and Sasha Edge and as the audience slowly filled, they were around ensuring that ever last detail was met meticulously and to motivate and support their production team. It is incredible that the company only launched in 2020 and I questioned this again and again as I marvelled in the expert performance I saw this evening.
I adore Shrek the musical, and to attempt to perform such a prop-heavy production I felt was a very brave move, however the cast of “D & S productions” smashed it ‘out of the park’! From the onset, the stage transformed to a fairy tale backdrop of forests, castles, fiery dragons and tall foreboding turrets (what creativity Lisa Jones and Jordan Barnes!).
The costumes were awesome and left me open-mouthed in every scene (amazing work by Donna Dale), with the ingenious use of plastic in the coloured wigs, skirts, armoury and fairytale character’s outfits that included the dwarfed Lord, humpty dumpty, Pinocchio (and his extending nose), Red-Riding Hood’s wolf (very funny – well done James Bennett!)– all truly mythically magical!
Each cast member oozed excitement and joy as they too reviled in being where they belonged – “on stage”. Although the theatre wasn’t full -probably through it being a midweek night and some people still having ongoing concerns about Covid- the cast gave it their all and got the Ogre-eared children (bought in the theatre) and giddy parents in fits of giggles.
So, to the plot- we are introduced to Shrek (Wesley Ray) – an angry ogre (great prosthetics), who fights for his swamp, goes to Lord Farquaad (played sublimely by Kris Hubbard– such talent – ohh those legs!!), meets an annoying talking donkey (John Sprung who stole the show – absolute incredible talent!), to get it back, ends up saving a beautiful princess – Princess Fiona (the very very talented and beautiful Kayleigh Ann Strong), defeats a dragon (amazing effects and loved how Hayley Dale played the beast – a great idea and played so well) falls in love with the princess, stops a wedding (fabulous scene) and the fairy tale creatures all live happily ever after with their saviour Shrek.
Well, the company did every scene to perfection and were brave enough to include every part of the story, that other teams may have shied away from due to the complexity or risks. No, not this company – they were ready to take risks, be brave, venture where other amateur groups may not and to be honest, they did it brilliantly!
Standing out for me was the enigmatic ugly duckling played by Latesha Karisa, who radiated her animation at every scene and in all roles she played, the hilarious 3 –blind- mice (great work girls!) the comical three pigs and the voice of Skye Marsh, who played the teen Fiona. As I said, donkey and Lord Farquaad stole the show for me, but everyone was fabulous and should be very very proud of what they have produced.
You will have to be quick as not to miss this fabulous show as it is only on now till Saturday 16th October. Tickets are from £23 and can be purchased at www.thebrindley.org.uk or by phoning 0151 907 8360. At the Saturday matinee at 2pm there is a chance to meet and greet the characters.
Well done “D & S Productions” and here’s to may more masterpieces!
Reviewer: Jan Mellor
Reviewed: 14th October 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★