By Hilary Porter

I'M a Believer - all ‘ogre’ again!

Monster show Shrek the Musical is back at Mayflower Theatre once again delighting young and old.

With tongue firmly in cheek it's a show that tips our favourite fairy tales and nursery rhymes on their heads.And it does so mixing subtle adult-only jokes and silly children's humour with even a few topical nods to Royals William and Kate and, dare I say, Brexit!

It expands on the film story of the reclusive, swamp-dwelling ogre who agrees to rescue Fiona from the tower and a fire breathing dragon – we learn how both were abandoned, aged 7, by their parents, and so it expands on the pathos too.

Tour director Nigel Harman (who played Lord Farquaad in the West End) has heightened the comedy too; it amuses with its many comic one-liners, witty tunes and visual gags.

Leading the cast as the beloved Shrek is the sensational Steffan Harri who previously starred in the original UK tour. He is totally believable...big, green, ugly, flatulent and utterly adorable!

Call the Midwife star Laura Main plays Princess Fiona with huge aplomb, obliterating cliche fairy princess stereotypes in great comic style.Her burping and farting competition with Shrek brought shrieks of laughter!

Marcus Ayton as Shrek’s funky, wisecracking sidekick ‘Donkey’ brings fun and exuberance to the stage.

Samuel Holmes as pint-sized baddie ‘Lord Farquaad’ is a joy. Villainous, lascivious and vertically-challenged, he spends the whole show on his knees and creates superb physical comedy, from his quick, haughty walk to the way he lustily crosses or rubs his funny little legs.

Those legs are a highlight of the show, taking on a whole language and life of their own, despite being fake!

Aso in the colourful, fun-filled mix of supporting fairytale characters are Three Little Pigs, tap dancing rats, a huge, low flying dragon, a tortured gingerbread man, a deluded Pinocchio and a cross-dressing wolf.

A family show with many comic layers, Shrek boasts a wealth of double-entendre and ironic wit that may be more fun for the adults than its original younger audience.

Tim Hatley's multi award-winning set and costumes continue to delight.

Musically it isn't the most memorable show although The Monkees' track I'm a Believer ends it on a great high. I still enjoy the other big stand-out production number ‘Freak Flag’ whose lyric “let your freak flag fly” invites us to embrace and celebrate being unique, different and diverse.

Shrek The Musical runs at The Mayflower, Southampton, until December 8.