Dreamworks’ 2001 animated film Shrek has seen many iterations, in both arts and internet culture, including the five-star Broadway adaptation currently running in Sydney. Thanks to Trigger Happy productions, there now exists a Burlesque parody: Shreklesque. It seems to have filled a meme-themed fringe show niche, having sold out all three performances before the show even premiered in Perth.
Structured very loosely around the story of the first Shrek movie, Shreklesque presents a series of Burlesque acts performed by eight well-known Shrek characters. It maintains traditional Burlesque elements whilst leaning heavily on the parodic nature of the show, exhibiting everyone’s favourite many-layered ogre and his friends as you’ve (hopefully) never seen them before. Many of the songs used (either from the movies or thematically related) were lip-synched, but there were a number of excellent live vocal performances from Dee Dee Luscious (Princess Fiona) and Aria Scarlett (Fairy Godmother).
Before the show, there was an air of both excitement and trepidation among the audience regarding just exactly what we were all about to witness. Behold! The emergence of a scantily-clad Lord Farquaad (Rainbow) performing a striptease was a clear tonal indicator of the performance to come.
The highlight of the night was Shrek’s own performance, for its comedic affect. Beginning with a feather fan dance to Rufus Wainwright’s version of Hallelujah from the original Shrek soundtrack, Trigger Happy, complete with a full face of green makeup and headpiece, showed the audience the comedic potential of getting a bit Shrexy. Segueing to the next act, Aria Scarlett as the Fairy Godmother emerged to perform ‘Holding out for a Hero’ as in the iconic Shrek 2 scene. As she sang, Shrek performed a striptease complete with tearaway costume items, finally resulting in a set of Shrek-face shaped nipple tassels, hopefully created specifically for the show. Trigger Happy’s rambunctious energy combined with iconic Shrek musical choices and the pure essence of absurdity made his act the most memorable part of the show.
The far-reaching and iconic nature of the Shrek franchise meant the entire audience was singing and quoting along with the performers, whether the acts were designed for audience interaction or not. Huge cheers were given for both raunchy and hilarious moments, especially when Tugboat Tiffy appeared clad head to toe in a giant, human-sized Gingerbread Man costume. Perfectly designed to be removed piece by piece, complete with removable gumdrop buttons, the costume was beyond impressive. Other audience favourites included Whisky A’More’s cat-themed Puss in Boots act, with bonus hairball, and Henny Spaghettii and Bebe Gunn’s resplendent drag portrayal of Donkey and the Dragon’s amorous relationship.
Shreklesque was a lot of fun, and definitely a unique viewing experience. If you’re a fan of dynamic performers parodying the Farquaad out of a beloved children’s franchise, or are just really, really into Shrek, you should hope Trigger Happy and friends return next year, as this year’s season is already completely sold out.
4 swamp green butt tassels out of 5.
Words by Cate Tweedie
Cate loves Fringe so much she is considering getting bangs.
Image courtesy of FRINGE WORLD Festival.
Woodside Petroleum is a principal sponsor of FRINGE WORLD Festival. Pelican has been a long-time supporter of the Festival, and will continue to show its support. However, the Magazine feels it is unethical for Woodside Petroleum to remain a principal sponsor of FRINGE WORLD, given the current climate emergency, and Woodside’s ongoing contribution to climate change.
Other Festivals have demonstrated that ethical sources of funding are possible – you can read more, and sign the petition, here: https://www.change.org/p/fringeworld-side-with-the-climate-and-drop-woodside-petroleum // #fossilfreefringe #fossilfreearts // Arts and Cultural Workers for Climate Action