My grandgirl’s final treat of her long and eventful summer vaca in the Roanoke Valley (and environs) came last night when we saw Mill Mountain Theatre’s lavish, entertaining production of “Shrek,” which featured 26 local actors, mostly kids.
The fact that they were children—for the most part—had little to do with the quality of the production, which was superb, top to bottom. The sets, the lighting, the costuming all stood alone in their importance to the production, while Travis Kendrick’s direction brought them together with universally good performances from the large trupe of actors.
Foremost among the actors was Cameron Reynolds, who played the part of the Donkey (Eddie Murphy in the movie) and he was outrageously funny and over the top, playing to Ryan Koch’s Scottish ogre and AnnEllese Galleo’s beautiful songbird Fiona. But the talent was deep and when Madeline Mae Walker’s Dragon was singing, everything and everybody stopped to listen. I was especially taken by young James Moledor’s Pinocchio and Cody Edwards as the ridiculous Farquad.
Most of the children had singular moments to shine and they did just that, even if it was playing without the ball while another actor had the spotlight. That’s excellent direction in my world.
This show, which is two acts, runs 1 hour, 25 minutes, which strikes me as a smidge long for a children’s show and it doesn’t begin until 7:30. The two children sitting in front of Maddie and me didn’t seem at all sleepy, though, sitting on the edge of their chairs, giggling and squealing throughout.
I liked the show, perhaps moreso with Madeline in tow, but she’s on the edge of being an adult and I wondered if Shrek would still appeal to her. It did. She was enthusiastic about it. You will be, too. And your kids … Ask them afterwards.
It continues through August 12. Get tickets at 540-342-5740 or here.