With Director Kelly Bickle at the helm, MD Heidi Zerk weaving an excellent musical platform plus choreographer Tahlia Neale calling all the right moves BCA has done it again! “Shrek” is bright, colourful, energetic and thoroughly entertaining. Kelly has assembled a cast equally as talented as any I see in amateur musical theatre. Her skilful direction makes the most of their combined talents on the Balaklava Town Hall stage.
Orchestration is deftly controlled and modulated throughout by Heidi Zerk, whilst Tahlia Neale’s choreography is simple, economic and effective. The routines of the specialist dance group in various iterations are highlights. The set is practical and costuming by Stephanie Radowicz’s team is imaginative, colourful and slightly zany in keeping with the fairytale. I particularly liked the brief appearance of the blind mice. The ensemble input from the Duloc villagers, royal guards and a hotchpotch of minor characters are all to be commended for their chorus work and provision of an essential backdrop to the production.
Principal cast members are both individually impressive and work seamlessly as a team. Kelly Bickle is an imposing dragon and her rendition of “Forever” is beautifully controlled and delivered. Zander Lee is a charming Pinocchio within the village throng. Bill Robertson carefully squeezes all he can from his role as Lord Farquaad. His well choreographed movement, especially the business around his arrival on horseback is an audience favourite as is his key song deriding his father whilst trumpeting his ambitions.
Princess Fiona, Bec Mason, is on the ball throughout and inhabits her character with consummate ease. I enjoyed the lovely trio in combination with her younger selves. She and Shrek are a winning duo. Michael Hardy’s Donkey is an unbridled fun seeker buzzing about the stage dispensing his whimsical wit. Michael demonstrates great timing and shrewd stage presence. His “Don’t Let me Go” with Shrek is very good indeed. And Shrek? Whatever roles he has played before have led Scott Everett to this BCA gem. He makes the stage his own. Scott’s vocal range is wide, clear, true and well suited to musical theatre. His performance is sublime. But within this depth of talent he is far from being alone. For example the lovely voice of Jessica Bushnell as the Sugar Plum Fairy did not escape my attention.
“Shrek” is great fun and the enthusiastic first night audience responded accordingly. In Balaklava Community Arts, I’m a believer !!