Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Faye Brookes IMDB Profile

Massive thanks to Faye for taking time out of her hectic schedule to send me a lovely email this week, updating me on what she's been up to since I last saw her in 'That Day We Sang' back in January.

She talked about the incredible experience of performing at the Olivier Awards, confirmed she's started some one on one rehearsals preparing for her role as Princess Fiona in the Shrek tour and also announced some VERY EXCITING news. You'll have to wait a little longer to hear about that, but trust me, it will be worth the wait.

She also told me about her brand new IMDB profile on which she's added a link to this very blog. Make sure you check it out by clicking on the links below:




They always say you can't have too much of a good thing, so don't forget you can also catch Faye on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram:




All these link can be found as permanent features on the right sidebar towards the top of the blog, just above our new 'Shrek UK Tour' section.

Monday, 14 April 2014

The Sound Of Music - Olivier Performance

Yesterday was a very special day for Faye.

She once again joined up with the wonderful cast of last summers magical 'Sound of Music' production for a very special performance at the Olivier Awards.

To be able to perform at such a prestigious event - which took place at the amazing & historical Royal Opera House - is an opportunity many stars never get and is no doubt one of the highlights of Faye's blossoming career.

Unfortunately the Sound of Music didn't win the award but just to be nominated for 'Best New Revival Musical' is a very notable achievement.

Their performance wasn't featured on the ITV highlight show but luckily someone did manage to record it when it was shown on what appears to be a large screen somewhere in Covent Garden.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Have Fun At Rehearsals Faye !!

I wanted to wish Faye all the luck in the world for the Shrek Tour rehearsals which I believe started today.

Morning TWEEPs! Been up with the birdies this morning, Off to London... ; ) x

I've got a busy day of rehearsals!!! x

Shrek looks like the most fantastic fun show. I'm sure the entire cast are going to have a blast.


The picture above doesn't actually have much to do with this post but I wanted to include it anyway.

The Legally Blonde Tour is probably my all time favourite show and these girls - Faye (Elle Woods), Tracey Penn (Vivienne), Hannah Grover (Brooke Wyndham) - were part of a very special cast.

I still miss that show but I have a feeling the Shrek Tour is going to be every bit as spectacular. Only 107 days to go until opening night.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

'Morning Person' Broadway Cast

I finally got around to watching my 'Shrek the Muscial' DVD at the weekend.

OMG, OMG, OMG, I love this show already.

The DVD features the broadway cast and Princess Fiona is played by Sutton Foster. Although she was great I couldn't help thinking:

Faye will be even more AMAZING in that song . . & that song . . & that song . .
Faye will be even funnier in that sketch . . & that sketch . . & that sketch . .
Faye will make an even more beautiful Princess . . & a more beautiful Ogre.
Faye is perfect for this role and will be the best Princess Fiona EVER.

I know I've already featured 'Morning Person' performed by Carley Stenson at West End Live but It's my favourite song from the show so I offer no apologies in featuring it again.

This time it's performed by Sutton Foster who played Princess Fiona on the Shrek the Musical DVD:

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Faye's New Doo!!

Absolutely love Faye's new doo. SOOOO Beautiful.

Surely this is actual proof that you CAN improve on perfection.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Nigel Harman Video Interview

Here is a video interview with the director of the forthcoming Shrek tour Nigel Harman.

He tells us more about the show and why it's the perfect night out for all the family.


Monday, 10 March 2014

'The Sound of Music' Olivier Nomination

The superb 2013 production of 'The Sound of Music' - which of course featured our very own Faye as Liesl Von Trapp - has been nominated for 'The Best Musical Revival' at this years Olivier Awards.

Much deserved in my opinion. Watching such a fantastic show in the magical surroundings of Regents Parks Open Air Theatre was definitely one of the highlights of my year.

Massive congratulations to Faye and all the wonderful cast and crew of this special production for this notable achievement.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Faye & Shrek Are Coming to Bristol !!

Now it goes without saying that I want to see the Faye in her new role as Princess Fiona at the earliest opportunity, so I will be making the long trip to Leeds a couple of days after opening night.

However, the second stop on the Shrek Tour just happens to be my home city of Bristol which means I'll have the chance to see this spectacular musical twice more before it departs for Nottingham in September.

Here is an article from the Bristol Post where they talk to the Director Nigel Harmen about the show:

Dirty Den's son bringing Shrek the musical to Bristol

He smouldered as Dirty Den's son in EastEnders, had fans up in arms as a rapist in Downton Abbey and has been making headlines with his camp tribute to Simon Cowell.

Now Nigel Harman takes a step out of the spotlight to direct the tour of smash hit show Shrek the Musical.

Nigel, who starred as Lord Farquaad in the hit West End production of Shrek, will bring his cast of fairytale creatures to The Bristol Hippodrome in August as part of the show's first ever UK tour.

"Not many shows can boast a three-foot Lord, six-foot ogre and talking donkey," Nigel laughs. "It's unique, funny and you'll love it!"

Based on the award-winning DreamWorks animation film, Shrek the Musical is this year's must-see show for all the family.

The story follows swamp-dwelling ogre Shrek, who is sent by the evil Lord Farquaad to rescue the (ill-tempered) damsel in distress, Princess Fiona.

Featuring all new songs as well as cult Shrek anthem I'm a Believer, Shrek the Musical brings all the much-loved characters to life, live on stage, in an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza.

"You'll definitely recognise the show if you've seen the film," Nigel tells me. "It has all the key elements that you know and love, including all the fun antics, the great characters and Donkey's fantastic patter. It's also visually stunning with the most amazing sets, costumes and musical numbers.

"It's a big, fun-filled show, yet at the same time it manages to be intimate and emotional," he continues. "At times it just breaks your heart. If you're a bit sentimental like me, you sit there and think 'I can't believe I'm getting choked up over a big, green ogre'!

"The best thing is that everyone comes out of the theatre with a huge grin on their face. I've spoken to a lot of adults who thought they were there just for the children but who loved the show. There's plenty in there for kids and grown-ups alike."

So if you haven't got any kids of your own to take along, there's no need to borrow other people's children?

"You can walk into the theatre proudly on your own – no kids necessary," laughs Nigel. "In fact, leave the kids behind and that way you can enjoy the show without someone tugging at your arm needing to go to the toilet!"

In 2012, Nigel won a Laurence Olivier Award for his role as the vertically challenged Lord Farquaad in the West End production.

The actor admits that while the show was a lot of fun, playing the role on his knees for the full run was physically and mentally exhausting.

"I'm happy to be able to direct at full height!" he tells me.

Nigel first found fame as Dirty Den Watts' beefcake son Dennis Rickman on EastEnders between 2003 and 2005.

Other roles followed, but it was his part as visiting valet Mr Green in Downton Abbey that set tongues wagging again.

Like "having a murder on Teletubbies" was among the hundreds of complaints made to ITV when Nigel's character violently attacked much-loved maid Anna.

But Nigel says he was unfazed by the level of furore.

"I didn't really follow the reaction too much," he says. "What I was more interested in was how television still has the power to shock. As an actor, I had been worrying that TV had got very safe, and I think it was a brave thing to do."

In a role not quite so different from the diminutive, egotistical Lord Farquaad, Nigel's next stint on the stage will see him playing Simon Cowell in Harry Hill's new musical I Can't Sing.

Nigel treated audiences to a sneak preview of the upcoming show when he gave outrageously camp performances at the Royal Variety Performance and the National Television Awards.

"I have to say that with the tan, the white teeth, the hair and the designer sunglasses, I do look worryingly like Simon Cowell," Nigel cringes. "I'm really excited about the show – I think it's going to be a lot of fun.

"But I'm still very much involved in Shrek for the moment and will be keeping an eye on the tour and popping in for pep talks and general back slapping," he concludes.

"We are all really looking forward to bringing Shrek to Bristol. It will be perfect for the lovely Bristol Hippodrome. We can't wait.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Faye and Jessica

I'll be posting more Shrek news soon but while we wait I thought I'd share this beautiful picture of Faye with Jessica Gates.

You've probably already seen it on Twitter but I'm sure you'll agree it's a worthy addition to the blog.

Monday, 17 February 2014

TDWS - Quick Change

Love this video. Thanks to Kendal Love for uploading and in answer to her question below, no they could not be any more adorable.

Could and be any more adorable??

Friday, 14 February 2014

Happy Valentines Day !!

This time last year I sent Faye a few flowers after watching her sparkle as Princess Aurora in the Sleeping Beauty Panto.

As I said last year, all Princesses should get flowers on Valentines day & in light of her new role as Princess Fiona in Shrek it only seemed right to repeat the gesture.

I'm sure her very own Prince Charming Mr Gareth Gates will be spoiling her rotten today but I decided a girl can never have too many flowers.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

From Elle Woods to Princess Fiona

Faye may be the best Elle Woods to play Princess Fiona but she's not actually the first.

Carley Stenson who played Elle Woods at the Savoy in London went on to play Princess Fiona during it's stint at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

I found the video below of Carley performing 'Morning Person' at West End Live 2012.

I wouldn't normally post a video that doesn't feature Faye but I can't help but imagine how AMAZING it will be to see her perform this song when the tour kicks off in July.

Not sure why but in some ways it remind me of my favourite scene from Legally Blonde, 'What You Want', in which Faye was sensational.

Just another indication of how perfect she is for this role.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Faye Is Princess Fiona !!

AT LAST, I can finally confirm that Faye will be taking on the role of Princess Fiona in the forthcoming UK tour of Shrek the Muscial.

I have to admit to being more than a little bit EXCITED!!

I've been bursting to share this incredible news since Faye first told me back in early December but had to keep quiet until the production officially announced the cast.

I haven't actually seen Shrek the musical but I've watched LOTS of You Tube videos since I learned Faye was taking on this AMAZING role and I'm getting more and more excited with everyone I find. I've also recently ordered the DVD featuring the Broadway cast.

I just know Faye will the best Princess Fiona EVER, she is quite simply perfect for this role. Of course she has the talent to play almsot any part in muscial theatre but this seems to be another role - much like Elle Woods - that is simply made for her.

I've already booked to see it 4 times in it's first 3 month's on tour, once in Leeds, twice in my home City of Bristol and once in Nottingham.

Depending on when you're reading this I may have already added the Shrek section to the right sidebar showing you tour destinations, dates and links to where you can purchase tickets. If it doesn't appear to be there yet don't panic, it soon will be.

Over the next few weeks I'll post more details about the show and maybe some videos of the West End production. Like me, I'm sure you'll be counting the days until you can see Faye sparkle on stage in this SHREK-TACULAR musical. It's going to be special.

Monday, 20 January 2014

A Perfect Day In Manchester !!

It had been a hard few days for me leading up to my trip to Manchester to see the final show of 'That Day We Sang'.

Work had been stressful but my main concern had been for my dog Max who had been staying at the veterinary hospital with suspected stomach cancer. Thankfully the exploratory operation came back clear and he seems much better but we have to wait for the biopsy results before we'll know the final diagnosis.

I needed something to lift my spirirts and the opportunity to see Faye in Victoria Woods brilliant play for the second time helped get me through the week.

However, what really made my day and for a few minutes at least made me completely forget all my worries, was my chat with Faye.

We'd arranged to meet inside the Royal Exchange at 6:30pm. I got there a little early but I didn't have to wait long before she came out and gave me a big hug.

I know how busy she is and that she had a show to prepare for so I thought she might just have time for a quick hello but we chatted for what must have been nearly 20 minutes.

When you're talking to someone you admire as much as I do Faye you have a million thoughts spinning round in your head so come the end you feel a little dizzy and retaining the finer details of what you've discussed isn't that easy but I'll give it a go.

We obviously talked about 'That Day We Sang'. Faye explained how much she enjoyed playing her part in such a fabulous play at one of the UK's most iconic theatre's and how great it was to work with such a wonderfully gifted cast. She also praised Victoria Wood, saying that her brilliant script made every cast member feel important and an integral part of the show.

We also discussed other shows and potential roles. I even found out she's a fan of Jersey Boys which is currrently my favourite West End show. She once auditioned for one of the lead female roles but unfortunately on that occasion missed out. Needless to say it's a highly competitive business and nobody gets every role they audition for.

She has of course worked in London playing the roles of Frenchy and Sandy in the hit musical Grease and she's hoping that further opportunities to perform in the West End are just around the corner. I'm sure they are, Faye would be an asset to any show.

As I may have mentioned after my first trip to see Faye at the Royal Exchange she has just agreed to take on a FANTASTIC role in an INCREDIBLE musical which has me buzzing with excitement. I can't release any details just yet but trust me you wont be disappointed, so keep checking back to the blog for the big announcement.

She really enjoyed performing in the BBC show Atlantis and would love to do some more TV work. Thankfully she has recently made some contacts which could help make that possible. She clearly has the talent and ability to be equally amazing on screen as she is on stage. 

We talked about various other things - most of which are now a little hazy - before I had to let he go to get ready for the final performance of 'That Day We Sang'.

The show as you already know from the numerous reviews I've featured on the blog is an absolute treasure and I'm looking forward to seeing the TV adaptation later this year but the highlight of my day was definitely my chat with Faye. She probably doesn't realise how much it meant to me but hopefully she'll read this because I'd like her to know how lucky I feel to be a fan of someone as wonderful as her.

She's beautiful inside & out and a star both on & off stage. Thanks Faye, you're the best.

Monday, 13 January 2014

That Day We Sang - 1 Week To Go !!

A bit random I know but I love this picture.


You now have just one week left to see Faye in Victoria Wood's remarkable play 'That Day We Sang' at Manchesters iconic Royal Exchange Theatre.

Unfortunately last time I checked there were no tickets left available but there may be returns so keep checking the website and you might get lucky.

All being well I'll be there on Saturday for the final show and hope to have the opportunity to see Faye before she sets off for London to support Gareth in Dancing on Ice on Sunday. Don't forget to vote for him.


Here is yet another glowing review of this very special play:

Posted by

The Royal Exchange is full of the usual well-heeled and savvy crowd but there is a distinct buzz of Xmas amidst the chinks of coffee cups and pre-show drinks. We are gathered for Victoria Wood’s musical which was originally written for the ever successful Manchester International Festival, and performed at the Opera House in 2011. I have to say upfront, I am no fan of the musical genre, however this is Victoria Wood – she of so many BAFTA’s it’s boring to list them, of Acorn Antiques and a little light masochism with the Woman’s Weekly!

The story is a Mancunian tale of love and rediscovery, based on the real life recording of “Nymphs and Shepherd’s” by 250 of our scruffiest and most melodious kids in 1929. Forty years later, a reunion of the young chorister’s proves the fillip for Jimmy Baker and Enid Sutcliffe to make a grab for the life they feel they somehow lost along the way.

The stage is strangely bare for the Exchange, indeed very few props are used throughout, but there are enough purple and brown outfits to place the action somewhere around the seventies. Old Jimmy Baker is played by Dean Andrews from the acclaimed TV series Life on Mars. He is almost unrecognisable from the archetypal male chauvinist ‘pig’ he played on the TV series, a credit to his skills in itself. Young Jimmy is played by the adorable William Haresceugh and, although I’ve heard better singing voices, between them they bring a realism and emotion to their character that transforms this little struggle for love from mundane to really quite moving.

Anna Francolini plays a very Enid-like Enid, she performed in Acorn Antiques – The Musical and is obviously well versed in Victoria Wood’s style of comedy. She has a great singing voice and her passionate second half ballad detailing Enid’s sexual frustrations provoked howls of laughter and thunderous applause. More comedic excellence is delivered by Sally Bankes who is quite magnificent as Dorothy Brierley and Pauline, delineating her roles with big hair and a big heart. With such fabulous female characters around him it was always going to be difficult for James Quinn. He plays the offensive Frank Brierley and positively “ungodly” boss Mr Stanley and delivered suitably unlikable characters, but, it was hard to escape the ladies’ shadows on the occasion of my visit.

The supporting cast were also brilliant, I simply can’t mention them all by name but Kelly Price was a loveable Gertrude Riall, Darren Lawrence carved out three distinct characters in no time at all, and Andy Brady’s Tango Dancer will stay with me forever. The highlight of the night for me was the Bernie Inn number, and the supporting cast’s performance as the waiters was quite superb. It was as though the piece had been originally imagined in the round and as a whole the play worked very well on the Exchange’s circular setting. Its excellent acoustics meant at times the live music was louder than the words and I was a little distracted by the conductor on the TV screens but overall this was a really good modern musical.

It’s worth mentioning that the younger players are drawn from Theatre Schools and acting classes across Manchester and of course parallels with the choir of 1929 are hard to miss. As such, the Royal Exchange’s Christmas Appeal this year recognises the positive impact that the performing arts can have on young lives and asks for a donation fund their campaign, which aims to help as many people in the region enjoy the power of live theatre as possible. Go on, it’s Christmas.

I happily gave this show four stars and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you like Victoria Wood you will like this and if you like musicals you’ll absolutely love it!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

That Day We Sang - 15 Shows Left

Firstly, thanks for supporting Gareth on Dancing on Ice. I thought the judges were a little harsh but with so many former champions it was always going to be a high quality competition. Can't wait to see what he has in store next and don't forget to keep an eye out for his proud girlfriend in the crowd.

Wooooooooooooooooooo !! So proud !! @Gareth_Gates SMASHED IT ANGEL !!! x

It's now less than 2 weeks until the final performance of  'That Day We Sang' at Manchesters Royal Exchange Theatre but there are still 15 opportunities for you to see this very specail play.


I'll be making the long trip from Bristol to see the final show on Saturday 18th and I'll soon have to contact Faye to see whether it will be possible to meet up for a brief chat either before or after the performance. I'm guessing there may be an after show party so it may be more convenient to meet before?

Enjoy these videos and book your tickets while you still can. You'd be mad to miss it.