Friday, December 05, 2008
Well, at least they didn't use any Smash Mouth for the curtain call in Shrek. However, just as David Lindsay-Abaire seems to have written the book by watching the film over and over again, Jeanine Tesori must have been listening to those songs as she wrote the music, for it's largely redundant pop. In fact, sometimes it seems like watching a Disney week on American Idol--the jokes are certainly dumbed down for that crowd. (Cleverest lyric: "This ass o' mine is asinine.") But while it seems derivative (a parody of a parody that uses parody as a device), there are some great moments in Act I, and both Christopher Sieber and Daniel Breaker are outstanding as Lord Farquaad and Donkey. Sutton Foster, as Fiona, isn't bad either, especially when going slightly crazy as she sings "I Know It's Today" from her tower prison--but the tap-dancing "Morning Person" is too Millie for my tastes: the play is better when it gets a little gross, as in the farting duet "I Think I Got You Beat" (Shrek and Fiona) or midget Farquaad's "dance" number in "What's Up, Duloc?" Or, say, any time Donkey gets to sing, as in the excellent "Travel Song" (in which director Jason Moore is able to bust out Avenue Q-level sight gags that mock, among other things, The Lion King On Broadway) or his Stevie Wonder R&B number with the Three Blind Mice, "Make a Move." As we all learn in the movie and now the musical, beauty ain't always pretty--but what the creators of Shrek have forgotten is that pretty ain't always beautiful.