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John Lamb, Published July 17 2013

Happily ever after: Trollwood's 'Shrek' delivers the goods

MOORHEAD – It’s not easy being green.

Sure, it’s Kermit the Frog’s line, but you had to feel that way seeing Walker Degerness take the stage in green makeup and a latex mask Wednesday night in Trollwood Performing Arts School’s premiere of “Shrek: The Musical.”

As the gruff but lovable ogre, Degerness had great reason to be in a foul mood with the temperature a humid 88 degrees at show time. But under all the makeup, Degerness shined with an expressive face, at times almost too charming to be scary. And he has a warm voice to match.

The story, based on the 2001 film (which was based on William Steig’s 1990 book), plays pretty straightforward: Shrek is ticked that Lord Farquaad has banished all of the fairytale creatures to the swamp, imposing on the ogre’s solitary life. If Shrek rescues Princess Fiona, he’ll get his swamp back.

It’s simple, yes, but it sets up an entertaining production. Nathan Jacobson nails the rambunctious smack-talking Donkey and delivers some of the best lines in the show.

Parents should be warned that while the fart jokes are played down, there is some scatological humor.

But the most enjoyable sight-gag is Cameron Sorrells brought to his knees as the diminutive, yet deliciously vain Farquaad.

Kalyn Schnabel, in the lead female role for the third straight year, is upright and hilariously uptight as the princess Fiona. While the show doesn’t have many notable numbers, Schnabel’s strong voice is impressive and memorable.

It may be a family show, but it’s no mere child’s play. The stage is sharply designed around a book – a sharp nod to the production poking fun at fairytale types – that revolves to reveal landscapes, dungeons and a truly inspired puppet dragon.

Like Shrek, the musical is what it is – straightforward, but plenty entertaining.

If you go

What: “Shrek: The Musical”

When: 8:30 tonight through Saturday, Wednesday through July 27, July 31 through Aug. 3

Where: Imagine Amphitheater, Trollwood Performing Arts School, 801 50th Ave. S., Moorhead

Info: Tickets range from $10 to $30; free for children 3 and younger. (218) 477-6502.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

John Lamb at (701) 241-5533