Monday, 28 July 2014

Leeds, Shrek & The Best Princess Fiona !!

I had to battle horrendous traffic on my 450 mile round trip to see Faye in one of her first performances as Princess Fiona in the Shrek the Musical UK Tour at the Leeds Grand Theatre. I encountered numerous delays - particularly on the return journey - & spent over 9 hours on the road but it was more than worth it to see Faye in her wonderful new role.

Thankfully despite the hold up's I arrived in plenty of time and was in my seat 10 rows from the front of the stalls with 15 minutes to spare.

They'll be many show reviews written by theatre critics over the next few weeks, many of which we'll feature here on the blog. I'm going to concentrate on Princess Fiona & Faye.

Fiona's story is bascically that of a Princess who at the age of 7 was locked away in a dragon gaurded tower to live in isolation until she was rescued by Prince Charming. She had also been cursed to live a double life, by day a beautiful Princess but by night an Ogre. Her Prince Charming turned out to be a big green ogre named Shrek but they still fall in love and eventually share a kiss which ends the curse. Though not as you may think ;)

As you may have guessed I'm a huge fan of Faye & could happily listen to her sing all day. I may be slightly biased but I was completely blown away by her performance & in my opinion Princess Fiona is involved in the 5 best songs in the show.

Although she is part of the 'Big Bright Beautiful World' opening, Princess Fiona's story really starts about 15 minutes in with her first song 'I Know It's Today'. This song actually features 3 Fiona's. The youngest has only been locked in the tower for 23 days & still wakes up each day expecting to be rescued. The next has been locked away for 958 days but is still sure Prince charming will slay the dragon & carry her to safety. The 3rd is a slightly bipolar Faye who has been locked away for 8423 days & is struggling to believe that all Princess fairy tales have a happy ending. Faye plays this perfectly everything from the singing to the facial expressions are staggeringly brilliant.

Faye is actually involved in about half of the shows 20 songs but I'm going to skip ahead to 'Morning Person'. This is soon after we find out that by night the Princess turns into an Ogre & Fiona is celebrating the start of a new day. This is most peoples favourite song of the show & I have to admit it's mine to. It's pretty much a solo number for Faye & she gets to showcase her fantastic singing, sensational dancing and brilliant acting in 10 wonderful minutes of on stage magic. In some ways this reminded me of 'What You Want' from Legally Blonde. I can't really explain why but I'm sure you'll see what I mean when you've had chance to see the show.

'Morning Person' is quickly followed by 'I Think I got You Beat'. This is another of my favourites & features Shrek & Princess Fiona arguing over which has had the harder life & ends in a farting contest. Honestly, it's hilarious and Faye's comedic acting is simply superb. You really HAVE to see it.

My 4th choice is 'This Is Our Story'. It's a happy ending song when Fiona & Shrek get together & realise they're perfect for each other. Again, Faye - dressed as an Ogre - performs this impeccably. Stupendously expressive, as she is throughout the entire show.

I couldn't finish without mentioning 'I'm a Believer'. It is primarily sung by Shrek, Fiona & Donkey but involves the whole cast & it's a fantastic end to a truly remarkable show. I can't wait to see it again when it lands in my home City of Bristol in about 3 weeks time.

I can't over emphasize just how much I enjoyed the show or how breath-takingly incredible Faye is in her new role. It's just perfect for her. Sometimes it's difficult to put into words just how special she is, just ask Shrek, When words fail . . . . .

After the show I had a lovely chat with Faye at the stage door. She was as adorable as ever & as you can see from the above picture, looking as beautiful as always.

She explained how she's having to readjust to being back on tour nearly 2 years after she hung up her blonde wig from Legally Blonde. Obviously it's more tiring than when you're based in one place & all the cast have been working extremely hard in ridiculously hot temperatures.

Her favourite song from the show is 'I Think I Got You Beat' & as I mentioned above it's definitely one of mine too. The performance of Dean Chisnall (Shrek) & Faye in this number is just sensational & had the whole audience in stitches.

We chatted a bit about press night, future tour destinations & her blossoming relationship with her very own Prince Charming Gareth Gates before I let her escape with her friends who had been waiting patiently nearby.

They'll be many reviews appearing online after this weeks official opening night but I'd question the sanity of any critic that doesn't say the Shrek the Musical UK Tour is a must see show for all the family & that Faye Brookes who plays Princess Fiona is one of the most accomplished young leading ladies they've ever had the good fortune to see perform.


Here is a great video previewing the show in Leeds & it includes a lovely little interview with Faye. Check it out:

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Let The Fun Begin - Good Luck Faye!!

Not being a performer myself I've never had to worry about opening night nerves. Quite frankly, short of a heavy dose of valium I'm not sure how I'd cope.

However, I know Faye is going to be spectacular in her new role and I have no doubt she'll smash it tonight when she takes to the stage for the first preview show of the Shrek tour in Leeds.

She probably doesn't realise just how special she is. She doesn't have the opportunity to sit in the audience and watch herself sparkle on stage. I have many times and I'm constantly blown away by her talent.

I'm going to say good luck for tonight Faye but you wont need it. Just be yourself - or in this case Fiona - and I know the night will end with a well deserved standing O.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Has Anyone Seen Faye's Shoes?

Clearly the above picture doesn't have anything to do with Shrek but it was too good not to feature on the blog.

You can certainly see why her new role as Fiona in the Shrek UK Tour will be the third time Faye has played a Princess. Simply stunning.

She and Gareth really do make the perfect couple.

Jul 13
The perfect weekend with my perfect man! ... x

Anyway, back to Shrek.

We're now just 72 hours away from the first performance and Faye has lost her shoes. Check out this video from rehearsals and see if you can help her find them.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Shrek Rehearsals Move To Leeds!!

Faye and the wonderful cast of the forthcoming Shrek UK Tour did there first full run through of the show on Wednesday. It was one of their final rehearsals before they head to Leeds for 'Tech Week'.

They've also had a character photoshoot so I'm hoping to be able to share some pictures of Faye as Princess Fiona very soon.

However, I'm actually going away for a weeks holiday tomorrow so I'm afraid you may have to wait until I get back to see the most beautiful Princess Fiona of all time. It'll be worth the wait, trust me.

Before I depart I thought I'd leave you with this video from the Shrek YouTube channel showcasing all the photos from rehearsals so far:

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Just Over 2 Weeks To Go!!

The countdown to the Shrek UK Tour opening night in Leeds continues and it's now only 17 days before Faye & co take to the stage.

Here are a few more pictures of our favourite Princess taken from this weeks rehearsals:

The last couple taken from the Shrek twitter feed are a little blurry but show Faye with her dancing rats.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

We're Almost There . . .

We've finally made it to July and it's going to be a special month because in just 21 days time the Shrek Tour opens in Leeds.

I know it will be a truly sensational show, and with the best ever Princess Fiona - Faye Brookes - it really is a must see.

Check out these great pictures from the Shrek rehearsals. Loving Faye's green shoes.

I didn't think it was possible but these pics have got me even more excited at the prospect of seeing this spectacular show.

You might have to look a little closer to spot Faye in this last one.
Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

Monday, 23 June 2014

Shrek Rehearsals - Week 1

Well the cast have now completed the first week of rehearsals for the forthcoming UK tour of Shrek the Musical and there are now just 29 days until opening night in Leeds.

Here are a few of Faye's Shrek related tweets from the last 7 days, along with a few from the shows official twitter account and one from her proud boyfriend Gareth Gates:

 ·  Jun 16
MEET AND GREET STARTED! Scripts have arrived! Let's get this party started!

Good luck to my for her first day's rehearsal for as Princess Fiona. So proud baby :-) Big Love x

More choreography today! Things really are looking up here in Duloc!

London you are so lovely this morning...


 ·  Jun 21
After a busy first week of rehearsals the cast are having their lunch in the sun!

 ·  Jun 21
= EPIC but so much fun! Thanks for an amazing first week guys See you all Monday!!! Big love x

 ·  Jun 21
Longest day of the year... You can say that again!!! It's 9.00 on a Saturday night & I'm in bed. Night everyone!

Finally, if you haven't already done so, check out the rehearsals teaser video featuring the dragon on the Shrek You Tube channel.

They needn't worry of course, Faye has dragon slaying credentials from her time as Princess Aurora.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Shrek Rehearsals Start Today!!

I just wanted to wish Faye and all the cast of the forthcoming Shrek the Muscial UK Tour all the best for the first day of full rehearsals.

They've all been learning lines, practising songs, having some one on one training and attending costume fittings over the past few weeks but today the whole cast come together for the first time.

This is when the show really starts to take shape. Which is just as well because there are now only 36 days until opening night.


Also, I feel I should point out that the blog reached another milestone earlier this month with our 200th post. Not bad as we've been up and running for less than 2 years.

Faye has had some wonderful parts over the past 24 month's and with the Shrek tour about to start and more TV work in the pipeline you can expect more of the same from her #1 fan blog.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Faye Alicia Brookes

They say you learn something new every day and today I discovered Faye has a middle name.

Her sister Nicky made the following tweet this morning from Montreal and Faye later confirmed the 'A' stands for Alicia.

check this out, they love your initials over here

: Those initials are so appropriate for you Faye! xx” A stands for my middle name Alicia x

Not only is Faye Alicia Brookes a beautiful name but her initials couldn't be more appropriate. Faye is not only a super talented star of stage and screen but also a truly lovely person. She really is FAB : )

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

No Pain No Gain !!

If you ever thought being a theatre performer was an easy life then take a look at Faye's poor foot.

She has been busy practising Princess Fiona's tap routine but as you can see she's had to dance through the pain barrier to perfect it.

NO PAIN NO GAIN! Enjoy this little pic guys!! HA...! Eeeewwwww.

The incredible shows we all enjoy don't happen by magic. Faye and her co stars are working tirelessly to make sure the Shrek UK Tour is loved by everyone who is lucky enough to see it.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Question For Faye - #22

It's now just 13 days until the Shrek UK Tour rehearsals begin and the cast can't wait to get started.

 ·  Jun 1
: So it's now June, which means I start Eeeeeeek!! Tooo excited ” Ahhhhhhh! x

While the countdown continues we'll just finish off those 'Questions For Faye' she kindly answered towards the end of the Legally Blonde Tour:

Question #22
What is your favourite book?

Faye's Answer
Anything by Audrey Niffenegger or Stephenie Meyer

I can't believe the LB Tour ended nearly 2 years ago. Check back for 'Question 23' in a few days time.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Just 3 Weeks Until Rehearsals !!

I'm back from my holiday in Cornwall and although I wasn't lucky enough to see them, I believe Faye and Gareth might have also been enjoying a short break in the South West last weekend.

May 16
Weekend by the sea... x

Faye will be enjoying her last 3 weeks of relaxation before rehearsals for the forthcoming Shrek the Muscial UK Tour begin on June 16th.

Amazing date night with xx

I know how excited she is about taking on this amazing role and being part of such an incredible show, so I'm sure she can't wait for the fun to begin. The only person who may be more excited is probably me : )

I'm hoping once rehearsals start we might get a few pictures of the cast in costume and the most beautiful and talented Princess Fiona that has ever donned the green frock.

Coming to a swamp near you! @ShrekUKTour will be heading to @TRPlymouth from 28 July - 16 August 2015. Tickets go on sale on 11 Jun.

As you can see, the latest destination to be added to the tour is Plymouth. Shrek & Co will be performing at the Theatre Royal between 28th July & 16th August 2015.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Shrek UK Tour - Leeds TV Advert

I'm actually going away for a week tomorrow - nowhere as beautiful or idyllic as Venice where Faye & Gareth had a lovely romantic break recently - but before I depart I wanted to feature the official TV advert for Shrek The Muscial UK Tour at Leeds Grand Theatre.

The show will be thrilling audiences in Leeds from July 23rd to August 17th. Make sure you don't miss out and grab your ticket while you still can.

Hopefully they will eventually make a highlights video featuring Faye and the cast of the UK tour as they did with Legally Blonde.

Below is a lovely little artcile from the Manchester Evening News announcing Faye's exciting new role.

It also confirms that the locals are in for a Christmas treat as their very own Princess will be home for the festive season. Shrek's run at the Manchester Palace Theatre is Dec 2nd to Jan 11th.

Faye Brookes to star in Shrek the Musical 

The Urmston actress will play Princess Fiona in the musical this Christmas.

West End star Faye Brookes will return home to Manchester for Christmas as the star of Shrek the Musical which heads here for the first time this year.

Faye, from Urmston, has starred in Legally Blonde on the West End as well as the national tour, and was most recently seen in the Royal Exchange production of That Day We Sang.

She'll be going green to play Princess Fiona in the offbeat fairy tale musical based on the hit animated films.

Faye will be joined on the tour by Dean Chisnall, who has been delighting audiences in the West End as the swamp-dwelling Shrek.

The new touring production is being directed by ex-EastEnders star Nigel Harman, who played baddie Lord Farquaad in the West End show.

Nigel says: "This show is very special to me with it's dizzying blend of great characters, a hilarious script and sublime music."

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

New Dates Added To The Shrek Tour

Another venue has now been added to the Shrek Tour. As you can see from the article below Faye and her co stars will be entertaining audiences at the Birmingham Hippodrome between Tuesday 31st March 2015 and Sunday 26th April 2015.

This is good news for me as Birmingham is less than 100 miles from my home in Bristol. I'm sure I'll be making the hour and a half trip up the M5 at least once.

The swamp is heading to Birmingham! Tickets for Friends are now on sale. General on-sale on 14 May.

Here is the article from '':

Birmingham Hippodrome has announced that tickets are now on sale to Birmingham Hippodrome Friends for the award winning Theatre Royal Drury Lane production of SHREK THE MUSICAL at Birmingham Hippodrome Tuesday 31 March - Sunday 26 April 2015. Tickets go on sale to Group Bookers Monday 12 May and on general sale over the phone, counter and online on Wednesday 14 May at 10am.

Unlikely hero Shrek and his loyal steed Donkey embark on a quest to rescue the beautiful (if slightly temperamental) Princess Fiona from a fire breathing, love-sick dragon. Add the diminutive Lord Farquaad, a gang of fairytale misfits, and a biscuit with attitude and you have the biggest, brightest musical comedy around!

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

This big, bright, beautiful production features dazzling fairytale costumes and towering fantasy sets designed by Tim Hatley who won a Tony Award for his work on the original Broadway production.
Stuart Griffiths, Chief Executive of Birmingham Hippodrome said "SHREK THE MUSICAL is a spectacular and incredibly funny show which will appeal to all the family and we are very excited to be bringing this much loved musical to the city in Spring 2015."

The UK & Ireland tour of SHREK THE MUSICAL 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.

Nigel said; "I am delighted to be returning to SHREK THE MUSICAL as its director. This show is very special to me with its dizzying blend of great characters, a hilarious script and sublime music. This production is visually stunning, and the story has the magic ingredient of moving at great pace while still being surprisingly intimate. I really can't wait to bring this to Birmingham."

SHREK THE MUSICAL will star 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', Idriss Kargbo as Shrek's wisecracking sidekick 'Donkey' and Gerard Carey as pint-sized villain 'Lord Farquaad'.

SHREK THE MUSICAL, originally directed (in the West End) by Jason Moore and Rob Ashford, is based on the story and characters from William Steig's book Shrek! and the Academy Award-winning DreamWorks Animations feature film.

SHREK THE MUSICAL runs at Birmingham Hippodrome from Tuesday 31 March - Sunday 26 April 2015. Tickets now on sale to Birmingham Hippodrome Friends, Groups on sale Monday 12 May, General on sale Wednesday 14 May; tickets priced £18.50-£45. Call 0844 338 5000 or visit 5% transaction charge applies (excl. cash sales in person) postage from £1. Phone calls from 5p per minute. Prices and discounting subject to change.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Shrek Countdown Continues !!

There are only 82 days until Shrek the Muscial kicks off it's UK tour in Leeds and just a few weeks later it lands in my home City of Bristol.

The above picture is a scan from the latest Brochure sent out by my local theatre advertising the show. Obviously they've had to use the West End cast but I still got a buzz of excitement when I found it.

Faye has started some one on one preparation for her role as Princess Fiona but the real rehearsals begin in about 6 weeks time. Not long now : )

The show travels all over the UK so make sure you book early to see it when it visits a theatre near you:

  • 23-Jul-14 to 17-Aug-14 - Leeds
  • 19-Aug-14 to 7-Sep-14 - Bristol
  • 10-Sep-14 to 28-Sep-14 - Nottingham
  • 8-Oct-14 to 19-Oct-14 - Belfast
  • 21-Oct-14 to 9-Nov-14 - Dublin
  • 12-Nov-14 to 23-Nov-14 - Oxford
  • 2-Dec-14 to 11-Jan-15 - Manchester
  • 21-Jan-15 to 8-Feb-15 - Aberdeen
  • 11-Feb-15 to 1-Mar-15 - Canterbury
  • 11-Mar-15 to 29-Mar-15 - Newcastle
  • 29-Apr-15 to 17-May-15 - Glasgow
  • 27-May-15 to 7-Jun-15 - Sheffield
  • 8-Jul-15 to 26-Jul-15 - Southampton
  • 19-Aug-15 to 6-Sep-15 - Milton Keynes


At least two more destinations are likely to be added to fill the gaps between 30th March 2015 to 28th April 2015 and 8th June 2015 to 7th July 2015.

I'm hoping one of those might be the Cardiff Millenium Centre as that is a spectacular theatre and just a short trip over the Severn Bridge for me.

As soon as any additional official dates are added I'll let you know.


In other news. I was flicking through the channels the other day and came across a US science fiction show called 'Star Crossed'.

Not as beautiful or talented as Faye but the star of the show - Aimee Teegarden - certainly reminded me of our girl.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Aladdin Video's (2008)

I recently came across 5 priceless clips of a 21 year old Faye playing Princess Jasmine in the Aladdin panto back in 2008.

I believe this was her first major role but I think it was clear even then that she was a star in the making.

Here are a couple of snippets from reviews written by the 'British Theatre Guide' and 'Get Surrey':

British Theatre Guide
'Another one making a professional debut is third year student Faye Brookes as Princess Jasmine – sweetly pretty as befits a Princess & with a beautiful singing voice.'

Get Surrey
'Emma Thornett in the role of Aladdin and Faye Brookes as Princess Jasmine, contribute to the glamour with their natural beauty, but they don’t just rely on their looks to give a good performance. As gorgeous as their faces are their voices. With such attributes the dose of sweetness is ensure. Emma and Faye’s good sense of measure make sure that far from being sickening the tale of their story is exciting.'

If I'd been lucky enough to see that show I'd have started the blog 6 years ago. Just from these short clips it's obvious Faye is supremely talented & destined to be a star.

Enjoy the video's, the last one feature's Faye performing a beautiful rendition of the Barry Manilow hit' Sweet Heaven (I'm In Love Again):