Breakthrough Theater of Winter
Park Music by Jeanine Tesori
Book and Lyrics by David Lindsay-Albaire
Directed by Jamaal Solomon Musical Direction
Choreography by Angelyn Rhode
Starring Tristan Bishop, Krystal Arvelo, Johnathan Barreto and Thomas Rivera
Winter Park, FL
I hoped Wade Hair would lead this project, but I hear he’s been feeling poorly lately. But tonight’s Shrek (Bishop) tackles the job with amazing shoe lifts, a solid scots accent, and the aura of put upon resignation any good cartoon hero needs. Shrek’s swamp fills with lost fairy tale characters displace by evil-ish Lord Farquaad (Rivera). Farquaad (say it fast, but not around Mom) seeks a bride and naturally, there’s one named Fiona (Arvelo) locked up in a tower. Locking your kids in towers seem like a poor plan to socialize them and a worse way to meet eligible mates, but what do I know about fairy tale dating conventions? Naturally we discover a pink dragon (Lauren Ashley Morrison) guarding her, but the dragon is easily distracted by the fast-talking Donkey (Barreto). Shrek can have his swamp back if he fetches Fiona to Farquaad, but life gets in the way, You can guess the happy ending-after.
It’s a loud show; Act One had the playback up too high but it calmed down by Act Two. The humor largely flows from Barreto and his snappy comebacks; but the short legged Farquaad adds the note of self-important pretense getting comeuppance all good fairy tales harbor. Bishop sweated out vulnerability and green makeup while Barreto always reminded of Eddy Murphy. Rivera sounds funny and looks confident, and he’s a Master of Working on His Knees. Our pink dragon looked ready for any Con intown, but Pinocchio (Gabriel Garcia) stayed too high pitched to generate much symphony. This is a kids show at its heart, but its really aimed at adults with double entendres, racy asides, and morally complex questions of eminent domain and Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Men.” Take the kids, take the folks, just don’t take the dog. It’s a small theater, occupied by a large cast and a ironed flat audience.