Behind the scenes of Shrek the Musical

Shrek the Musical, a live-action re-telling of the magical fairy tale about a lovable but grouchy ogre, opens tonight at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal and runs until Sunday 28th September.

As the curtain goes up, The Chad talks to Idriss Kargbo, the actor who plays Shrek’s faithful side-kick Donkey, and finds out how a human being prepares to portray a wise-cracking four-legged animal.

“I am such a huge fan!” enthuses the 18-year-old actor from East London. “I literally love running and jumping. It gets me going. It’s a psyching up ritual.

“Donkey is one of those characters who are always so happy and feel-good - so I have to be happy and feel-good too.

“It really has been my life and I have just grown into it really.”

He promises a ‘feel-good show for all the family’ and said: “People come thinking it will be a kids’ show. But you notice that the adults enjoy it just as much as the kids!’

The show will be directed by Nigel Harman who starred as Lord Farquaad in the west end production, winning him the 2012 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical.

The production stars Dean Chisnall as beloved swamp-dwelling ogre ‘Shrek’, the role he previously played in the West End, Faye Brookes as damsel in distress ‘Princess Fiona’, and Gerard Carey as pint-sized villain ‘Lord Farquaad’.

The musical opened on Broadway in 2008 before touring to nearly 150 cities in the USA and Canada. Productions have since played across the world.

It is coming direct from London, where it was seen live on stage by nearly a million people.

Idriss admits to being a ‘huge fan’ of the blockbuster film as a child and said: “I used to watch the video tape so much I broke the cassette because I would rewind and rewind.

“To think that I am doing it now is crazy!”

He has nothing but admiration for Eddie Murphy, who played the role of Donkey in the 2001 film.

“I am trying to do it as me rather than Eddie Murphy - but I remember copying him when I was growing up. It was an incredible performance.”

Idriss grew up in Dartford and was trained at the Sylvia Young Theatre School.

He made his professional debut at the age of ten in The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre, which was followed by parts in Thriller Live! at the Lyric Theatre, in the West End and Oliver! at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane.

He was appearing in The Scottsboro Boys at the Young Vic when he was approached to audition for the role, beating off competition from around 50 other hopefuls.

“It didn’t occur to me that I would get the part - there were so many other people,” he said. “It’s a dream come true. It’s been a roller-coaster journey and I am so grateful for the opportunity.”