Everyone knows the story of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf… but did we ever think maybe there was more to it?
The Wolf is just one of the hilarious and misunderstood fairy-tale characters depicted in Shrek The Musical, which is currently playing in Sydney. Donning the fur for the Australian tour of the show is Andy Conaghan (in the dual role of Wolf/Thelonious), who has just recently returned from playing The Bishop of Digne the West End production of Les Miserables.
Some of Andy’s other credits include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (West End, u/s Freddy), South Pacific (Opera Australia/GFO), The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber (Really Useful Group), Guys and Dolls (Donmar Warehouse), Eddie Perfect’s Shane Warne The Musical, Floyd Collins, Rent and the Australian premiere of Titanic. He is excited to return to Australia and sink his teeth into a fun and colourful show like Shrek The Musical.
What has been the best part of working on Shrek The Musical?
Coming home to be part of this wonderful show. I’ve just returned to Australia after 6 years working over in the London. The experience of throwing myself back into the Aussie industry with this beautiful company has just been wonderful.
Why do you think audiences love Shrek so much?
The original movie takes extremely well-loved fairy tale archetypes, and at the same time gives them a deeply human side. It broke the mould for animated movies. Audiences love seeing flawed, fallible and truthful characters – it’s hilarious, relatable, poignant and uplifting. The writers have expanded on this on the stage version. Throughout the show we see Shrek, Fiona and Donkey go through many problems and life lessons we all have on the daily – loneliness, acceptance, friendship and (the main message of the show) not judging a book by its cover. So there’s that…and it’s very funny
How do you manage character swaps during the show?
I spend most of my show switching between the Big Bad Wolf (with a zest for female clothing), and Thelonius the Official Executioner of Duloc and lackey to Lord Farquaad. Learning the changes throughout tech always seems impossible, but it’s amazing how quickly it becomes second nature. I find costumes extremely informative in learning how a character might move or walk, and I love experimenting with accent and voice work during the rehearsal period.
Do you have a favourite song or scene?
Morning Person at the top of Act 2 is a favourite at the moment. I love watching it from side stage. The number has a great build, Lucy Durack and our fantastic ensemble knock it out of the park. It’s also a great opportunity to showcase our amazing orchestra, who sound superb.
What has been the most challenging part of your role?
Learning to walk and dance in a heeled grandma boot!
Why should people come see Shrek?
This production is just pure entertainment. It has everything you know and love from the film with all bells and whistles of a Broadway show.
Shrek The Musical is currently playing in Sydney until Feb 9, and then moves to Melbourne and Brisbane.
For tickets and more information, please visit shrekthemusical.com.au