St Albans Musical Theatre is back where it belongs with an exuberant production of Shrek raising the roof and delighting the audience.

After a couple of years away from the Alban Arena, the company is using the large stage and first-rate acoustics of the city centre theatre for all is worth to perform the musical beloved by children and adults.

And what a return it is with the usual fabulous singing voices and dramatic skills, stunning scenery and a company which gives its all on every front.

Yes there were a few technical hitches on Tuesday’s opening night but none of that mattered. The performance overrode everything else and the whole company should take a bow.

Herts Advertiser: Shrek the Musical is on at the Alban ArenaShrek the Musical is on at the Alban Arena (Image: Martin Smith)

From director/choreographer Matt Fowler and musical director Susana Tierney to Louise Stevens and her team of make-up artists, Shrek shows just how dedicated the company is.

I have always felt they have to be one of the most professional amateur companies in the country and the current production only confirms that.

Complete with plenty of green make-up and enough stuffing under his belt to fill a mattress, Russell Stratton takes the role of Shrek.

In a production filled with plenty of laughs as well as drama and singing, he dominates the stage whenever he appears.

That is not to say he doesn’t have plenty of competition, not least from Nicola Martinus-Smith as a feisty Princess Fiona.

Stand-out performances also come from Ruaridh Macphee as the Donkey – how brilliantly he captures

the character’s quirkiness with his faux American accent – and Mathew Collyer as Lord Farquaad.

Without giving too much away, how Mathew’s knees stand up to the role is anyone’s guess but they do and his portrayal of the would-be king of Duloc is first rate.

Singling out the principals would be wrong without a mention of the contribution of the company as a whole.

From a host of fairytale characters to Lord Farquaad’s guards, skeletons and rats, their enthusiasm and talent is the backbone of the show.

And if Shrek does not win another NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association) award for the St Albans Musical Theatre Company, I will be amazed.

Shrek The Musical runs until Saturday (19) at the Alban Arena with evening performances at 7.30pm and a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.

Tickets are available from the Arena box office or online.