THE anticipated big-budget production of Shrek The Musical opened at the Wales Millennium Centre last week and I cannot Skrek-ommend it highly enough.

I made the trip to Cardiff Bay for the Welsh premiere performance of the West End show having falling in love with the DreamWorks animation film back in 2001 and the subsequent sequels.

I must admit I was sceptical as to how it would be adapted for the musical stage – it seems to me they will make a musical out of anything these days – but I, and it would appear the rest of the doubters, could not help but join in the all singing and all dancing extravaganza.

Filling the gigantic shoes of Mike Myers, the original voice of Shrek, was the more than capable Dean Chisnall, who is no stranger to the West End stage having appeared in productions of Love Never Dies, Evita, The Woman in White, as well as making television appearances on Britain’s Got Talent and Blue Peter.

The musical opens with Shrek telling the story of how he was forced to leave the family home as a young ogre and live alone in a festering swamp. He seems quite content there until the day it is inundated with a group of well-known fairy tale characters which have been banished from Duloc by the evil Lord Farquaad. They include Pinocchio, Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs, the Wicked Witch and the Gingerbread Man.

Shrek decides to travel to Duloc to insist that they be removed from his swamp and is shown the way by Donkey, played by Idriss Kargbo with the same energy and charm Eddie Murphy gave to the role in the feature film. In Duloc we meet pint-sized baddie Lord Farquaad, who threatens to steal the show with his camp comedy and incredible timing. He is played by home grown talent, Cardiff-born Gerard Carey.

Lord Farquaad agrees to give Shrek the deeds to his swamp if he rescues Princess Fiona from a dragon-guarded tower and returns her to Duloc to be his wife. Shrek agrees and sets off on his mission, with faithful sidekick Donkey hot on his giant heels.

The puppetry of the dragon was a real highlight of the show - it reminded me of a previous production of War Horse at the Centre. The voice of Candace Furbert was a worthy match for the lovesick beast, who hilariously takes a shine to Donkey, who claims to like ‘big girls.’

While Donkey is being wooed, Shrek rescues Princess Fiona, played by Bronte Barbe, who has been waiting 8,000 days for her prince charming to sweep her off her feet. Instead she is flung over Shrek’s shoulder and subjected to his outbursts of flatulence.

As they make their way back to Duloc, an unlikely friendship forms between the pair, who we learn are not so different after all. When Shrek finally realises his feelings, Princess Fiona is about to marry Lord Farquaad, but will he disrupt the wedding in time?

The show has an age guidance of five years and over, and I was sitting next to a couple of youngsters who were in stitches from start to finish. It was a pleasure to hear. I would highly recommend Shrek the Musical to families as a Christmas treat or to combat those post-Christmas blues. It really is Shrek-tacular!

The show runs until January 10 and tickets range from £19.50 to £58. These is no admission to under twos. Few tickets remain, to get yours visit or call the box office on 02920 63 64 64.