Shrek the Musical is coming to Australia.
Shrek the Musical is coming to Australia. Helen Maybanks

Ben ready to step into Shrek's big shoes

BEN Mingay never thought a joke on the set of Wonderland would prepare him for his biggest stage role to date.

The actor already feels right at home in the Scottish accent he'll need to use for the leading role in Shrek the Musical.

"Funnily enough, I'm a massive fan of Braveheart," he says.

"For some reason my mate Tim Ross, who I did Wonderland with, was also obsessed with Braveheart and together we would talk to each other like we were on the battlefield. The accent's not going to be a problem for me."

Mingay stars opposite Lucy Durack, as Princess Fiona, and Marcia Hines, as Dragon, in the first Australian production of the award-winning musical, which will premiere in Sydney before arriving in Brisbane in May, 2020.

Ben Mingay, Lucy Durack and Marcia Hines will star in the Australian production of Shrek the Musical.
Ben Mingay, Lucy Durack and Marcia Hines will star in the Australian production of Shrek the Musical. Supplied

The musical is based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks film Shrek and William Steig's 1990 book of the same name. Shrek was such a hit when it was released in 2001, it spawned three more films, a Puss in Boots spin-off and a handful of TV specials and short films.

"The story is timeless and the good thing is this musical is one of those ones that does follow the movie pretty directly," Mingay says.

 

Princess Fiona and Shrek in a scene from the animated movie Shrek.
Princess Fiona and Shrek in a scene from the animated movie Shrek.

"There's not a lot I need to worry about in term of different deliveries, but having said that we're bringing it into the now and the social problems we've got now like bullying. I want to tick that mark as much as I can. Even though Shrek's a big ugly ogre, he is really an outcast who has a heart of gold. I want to send that message, to younger kids especially, of acceptance and not judging a book by its cover."

Transforming into the large, imposing ogre each night will be a physical challenge for Mingay. It will take the actor nearly two hours to 'green up' in the make-up chair.

"Funnily enough I just flew to Melbourne to do a prosthetics fitting. They made a mould of my head and shoulders, which is very scary because all that's showing are your two nostril holes," he says.

"Then it was straight over to a fitting where I did don the full fat suit and costume, which includes four or five inch platform shoes. I'm 6'6 with those shoes, so I'll be a very, very large, imposing figure.

Producer John Frost has announced Shrek the Musical is coming to Australia in 2020.
Producer John Frost has announced Shrek the Musical is coming to Australia in 2020. SUPPLIED

"It's going to be a workout. I would not be surprised if I enter the Shrek suit on day one and emerge 10kg lighter after the first two weeks. Apparently you do sweat quite a bit in there, but that's all part of the fun.

"There is definitely something about getting into the suit and all of a sudden you become that character. Once I get into that suit and they put the final touches on my head I'll be ready to go."

The rest of the cast, including the all-important role of Donkey made famous in the films by comedian Eddie Murphy, will be announced soon.

"I have an inkling who (Lord) Farquaad and Donkey are and you'll love it," Mingay says.

Shrek the Musical plays QPAC's Lyric Theatre from May 9, 2020. Tickets for the Brisbane season go on sale today at qpac.com.au.



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