Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Princess Fiona at Bristol's Toys R Us!!

The youngsters of Bristol are in for a treat because the Shrek Tour have arranged another Story Time with Princess Fiona.

The Princess will be at Bristol's Cribbs Causeway 'Toys R Us' store at 4 pm on Wednesday 20th August for this very special event.

Not only will your little ones be entertained with an enchanting story about a big green ogre but they'll also have the opportunity to have their picture taken with the beautiful princess and win a family ticket to see Shrek the Muscial live.

Unfortunately Faye will not be there on this occasion but I'd still highly recommend it. Your kids will love it.

Welcome to Bristol Faye!!

'I know It's Today. . . .' that Faye and the fabulous Shrek Tour kick off their 3 week stay in my home City of Bristol.

Just look at the celebrations in the picture above.

That photo was actually taken at last years harbour festival but I know everyone is equally excited about the arrival of the big green ogre and his beautiful princess.

For the next 20 days Bristol is going to be the 'Big Bright Beautiful. . . .' place to be.

Friday, 15 August 2014

A Beautifully Talented Princess

Northern Soul recently caught up with Shrek director Nigel Harman to discuss the multi million pound tour production of this fantastic musical.


His quote about Faye is SO true. The show are lucky to have her.

"Faye is a star now, but in few years everybody will be talking about her.”

With just three days left at Leeds Grand Theatre I thought I'd post a few snippets from reviews all saying that Faye is the perfect Princess Fiona.

Fiona, played by Faye Brookes, is also spectacular, not just vocally, but in her whole performance – she’s so expressive, so full of personality that you can’t help but warm to her. 

She also proved, half way through the performance, that the show must go on, when a wardrobe malfunction left her without her skirt (don’t worry, she had sparkly hot pants from the previous number) – if we hadn’t seen the skirt hastily thrown off stage, we wouldn’t have known she was underdressed – she gave no sign.

It may be the tour’s early stages, but there is already a convincing chemistry between Chisnall’s Shrek and Faye Brookes’ Princess Fiona. Brookes adds a quirky feistiness to the part and proves her worth in the song and dance departments too. She also impresses when coolly dealing with a costume malfunction at the top of Act II.

Faye Brookes' performance as Princess Fiona had added sass in comparison to the Fiona of the film, but it worked perfectly - as her did her naturally comedic style.

Faye Brookes is suitably vulnerable and bratty as the demanding Princess rescued from a tower only to fall in love with an ogre, and she led the line wonderfully in an utterly bonkers Busby Berkeley-inspired tap routine during the mighty Morning Person which closes acts two. She also proved she is equal vocally to an on-fire Chisnall in a powerful Who I’d Be at the end of act one.

He bounces wonderfully with fine-voiced Faye Brookes’ multi-tiered and effortless Princess Fiona. 

Faye Brookes delivers a beautifully lilting performance as Princess Fiona, showcasing impressive vocals throughout.

Faye Brookes as Princess Fiona expertly walks the finest line of all, somewhere between dreamy princess in the tower and bridezilla (she also seamlessly deals with a costume malfunction during a song and dance routine in Act II).

Faye Brookes is a delightfully feisty Princess Fiona, with the soul of a sassy showgirl underneath her constricting princess costume.

Faye Brookes, cast as an American as she was in Legally Blonde, again excels as a character discovering the real her as the story progresses. 

Faye Brookes is a spirited, but kind Fiona.

Faye Brookes who plays Princess Fiona is one of the most accomplished young leading ladies I've seen and is superb throughout.

Faye Brookes plays Princess Fiona with a feisty charm that suits the character well.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Princess Diary - Leeds

In each new venue of the Shrek tour Faye will be introducing the talented girls playing the younger version of Princess Fiona in the show.

In Leeds we have Daisy (11), Mabel (10), Isabella (11) and Bridget (7)

Monday, 11 August 2014

Internet Browser Font Issues

It has come to my attention that the text font on the blog looks very different depending on what internet browser you are using.

As I personally use 'Mozilla Firefox' that was the browser on which the blog was created and therefore looks best.

I'm not really sure why it appears so differently depending on your browser. I will contunue to look into this but I can't currently see a way around this minor issue.

You can of course view the blog on 'Internet Explorer' and 'Google Chrome' but for the best results I suggest you use 'Mozilla Firefox'. The text font when using 'Internet Explorer' appears particularly small and therefore more difficult to read.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Stage.co.uk Shrek Review

It's been Princess Fiona week on the Shrek tour which means for one week only Faye's wages are increased 10-fold and the other cast mambers have to bow or curtsey when she enters the room.

Anyone fall for that? No, I didn't think so but it has actually been Princess Fiona week as you can see from the tweet below. That much at least is true.

 ·  Aug 7

Moving on, I thought it was about time I featured another of the countless positve reviews of Shrek the Muscials first UK tour.

I must have read over twenty now and they ALL love the show and Faye's sensational performance as Princess Fiona.

This next review is from The Stage.co.uk and was written by Lisa Martland.


Shrek the Musical is the latest in a line of large-scale West End productions (The Lion King and Wicked are others) to tour the UK and Ireland, and on the evidence of this opening in Leeds, it has a pretty good chance of equalling the success of those shows that have preceded it.

The staging owes much to the 2011 Theatre Royal Drury Lane production, but London’s original Lord Farquaad, Nigel Harman - who won an Olivier award for his performance - has stepped in to take a fresh look for this touring version.

The result is a fast-paced, tightly directed romp that exaggerates the farcical elements of the alternative fairy tale, but doesn’t undermine the sweetness of its message (that what makes us special makes us strong).

David Lindsay-Abaire and Jeanine Tesori’s score isn’t the strongest in the world, and yet it constantly delivers, boosted by Harman’s attention to detail and Josh Prince’s clever choreography. The updates (mention of William and Kate’s castle, for example) and musical theatre in-jokes are fun to spot too, with Lord Farquaad’s nod to Wicked’s Defying Gravity a favourite.

Brilliantly embodying both the fun and charm of the piece is Dean Chisnall in the title role, appearing just as at home burping and farting as he does delivering a tender reprise of Big Bright Beautiful World.

It may be the tour’s early stages, but there is already a convincing chemistry between Chisnall’s Shrek and Faye Brookes’ Princess Fiona. Brookes adds a quirky feistiness to the part and proves her worth in the song and dance departments too. She also impresses when coolly dealing with a costume malfunction at the top of Act II.

Gerard Carey is nothing less than excellent as the vertically challenged Farquaad, who delivers his big numbers with aplomb and relishes every second of silly campery.

It was only five years ago that Idriss Kargbo, who plays Donkey, won a Stage/Sylvia Young scholarship when he was 13 years old. The maturity of his performance is therefore particularly impressive, and though he seemed a tad tentative at the beginning of press night, his growing confidence was evident as he strut his stuff in numbers such as Make a Move.

Within a fine ensemble of actors playing a multitude of roles, Nikki Bentley, Candace Furbert and Will Haswell also stand out.

Thanks to Tim Hatley’s vibrant set, dragon and costume design, accompanied by Hugh Vanstone and Matt Daw’s lighting, fans of the Shrek movies will not be disappointed. In fact, there is plenty to satisfy both young and old, not least some of the bawdy humour that, one hopes, will go over the little ones’ heads.

VERDICT: Big, bold and brassy touring version of the DreamWorks favourite is likely to please all ages.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Don't Mess With The Princess!!

I have already featured this picture as part of the 'Story Time With Princess Fiona' report but I thought it deserved it's own post.

It's one of my favourite ever pictures. I love Faye's 'Don't mess with the Princess' look. It just makes me smile every time I see it.

: I love this picture of Princess Fiona  

 "Don't mess with me look!"

You may have noticed I've added it as a permanent feature in the Shrek section on the right sidebar of the blog.

I'm not sure who is on the phone. Maybe it's Lord Farquaad asking for a second chance?

Judging by the Princesses reaction, I don't fancy his chances.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Press Night Pictures!!

Check out these absolutely stunning pictures of Faye at the Shrek press night last Wednesday.

As you can see, the first picture below is a lovely shot of Faye with her proud boyfriend Gareth Gates.

 ·  Jul 24
Last night I watched my as Princess Fiona in WOW... She was incredible. Well done baby x

Never has a princess looked so beautiful. That dress is simply gorgeous.

Backstage With Princess Fiona!!

After another dazzling performance on stage, Faye gave a couple of lucky little princesses a backstage tour at the Leeds Grand theatre last week.

They loved the show so much it inspired them to write the wonderful little poem below about their Shrektacular day in Duloc and the swamp.

Yesterday, we went to see SHREK,
It was SO grrrreat, flipping ek.

The singing was ACE the dancing was too,
WONDERFUL settings and costumes too.

After the show we went back stage,
With Princess Fiona, who'd stepped down off the page.

The Dragon was sitting pretty there in the wings,
With lots of props and MAGICAL things.

SOOOO much of everything goes into a show,
Which we THOROUGHLY enjoyed, but I think you know.

THANK YOU to all, the Cast and Crew,
We thought you were GREAT.

A round of APPLAUSE... for EACH of YOU

As you can see from the picture above the poem, they even made friends with the Dragon; who never misses a photo opportunity.

This last picture gives you a sneak peak of Faye's dressing room at the Leeds Grand Theatre.

Lots of lovely flowers and cards wishing her good luck in her fantastic new role, along with some essential princess snacks like maltesers and M&M's :)

Monday, 4 August 2014

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Story Time With Princess Fiona

On Friday 1st August, Princess Fiona was released from her Tower and made a trip to Toys 'R' Us in Leeds for a very special Storytelling Session with some other little Princesses.

Settle in Girls, it's story time.

Princess Fiona has the girls hooked on the story.

Fiona tells the story of Shrek and his noble steed....

....Setting forth to rescue the Princess....

....And they lived horribly ever after. The End.

By Royal Decree, Princess Fiona bestows her first gift as she crowns her first Ogress.

Of course there was time for some autographs....

....And a Photo Opportunity with some of the girls.

Who had the loudest Roar?

Plus a chance for her to work a shift on the tills....

And answer a few calls...

Wakey Wakey Princess Fiona!!

As I mentioned in my previous post Faye visited Toy's 'R' Us in Leeds yesterday for a special meet and greet event, 'Story time with Princess Fiona'.

As you can see from the above picture the beautiful Princess clearly has all the young Shrekies fully engrossed in the story and the whole day was a massive success.

Our Fairytale Story at in Leeds with Princess Fiona was a massive success!

However, this exciting adventure was very tiring for the Princess and she was later seen fast asleep with her lovely new MK handbag; a gorgeous gift from her Prince Charming Gareth Gates.

No need to worry though, she's always been a 'morning person' and will be wide awake again after her usual 6 cups of coffee ;)

Friday, 1 August 2014

Leeds-List.com Shrek Review

Firstly, don't forget that Faye will be at Toys 'R' Us in Leeds today from 4pm for 'Story time with Princess Fiona'. You'll also get the opportunity to have your picture taken with the most beautiful Princess in all the land.

This is a very special event and one I'd have loved to been able to attend because I know Faye will be a Shrek-tacular storyteller.

Now as I'm sure you're aware, Wednesday 30th July was the Shrek the Musical UK Tour press night at the Leeds Grand Theatre and countless glowing reviews of the show have already appeared online.

Needless to say they all loved Faye's performance as Princess Fiona and comment not just on her incredible vocals, superb expressive acting and step perfect dancing but also how she dealt seamlessly with a costume malfunction at the start of act 2.

I'm not going to feature every Shrek review as many are very similar but I will be adding a few to the blog over the coming days and weeks.

I'll start with this lovely piece written by Ali Turner for Leeds-List.com:

Review: Shrek the Musical at Leeds Grand Theatre


By this point, everyone with kids (and to be honest, everyone with access to a television) has seen Shrek. It’s the box office hit that keeps giving, with film after film adorning our screens – but how does the fairytale translate on the stage?

It’s hard to imagine the DreamWorks animation on the stage – the film’s characters (and the actors who lent them their voices) are so iconic that even a small change seems unimaginable – it’s like seeing your favourite book made into a film. But the stage version doesn’t make a small change – it makes a big one.

Of course, it still has all your favourite characters. There’s Shrek, Princess Fiona and Donkey – and while they take a bit of getting used to in their new form, you’ll be every bit as besotted with them as the originals by the end of the show.

It’s the same story too. Shrek’s swamp is overrun with fairytale creatures and thus he sets off on a quest to rid himself of them, first by having a stern talk with Lord Farquaad, and then by rescuing the imprisoned princess. But like the ogre and the onion he compares himself to, Shrek the Musical has layers – and they go way beyond those of the animation.

Here, we learn how Shrek found himself alone in a swamp and how Fiona ended up locked up in a tower. But it’s Lord Farquaad’s lineage that really seals the deal, leaving the audience in hysterics, with applause before “The Ballad of Farquaad” is even through.

And that’s not the only time that Shrek the Musical veers off course. Some of the best scenes are those that you don’t see coming – a Riverdance-style ditty with suited and booted rats, a fairy tale uprising that encourages characters (and viewers) to embrace their individuality and a comical sing-off that ends in a burping competition.

These unexpected twists come with all new songs, which make up the bulk of the musical. In fact, the only song that you’ll really recognise from the film is “I’m a Believer” – which they save until last, by which point, the entire audience was on their feet for a well deserved standing ovation.

Admittedly, it took a while to get going. The grumpy ogre of the beginning is harder to love than the playful character he becomes once Donkey and Fiona are on the scene. And the lighthearted, adult focused jokes which make shows like this enjoyable for the parents as well as the kids, are a little light on the ground in the early stages. Once they get going though, you get a cross dressing wolf, a bipolar princess and a Lord who gives the name ‘Maximus’ new meaning.

Speaking of Farquaad, the pint-sized Lord is played by Gerard Carey, and inevitably becomes the highlight of the show. His legs, which of course aren’t his own (he spends the entire show on his knees with a pair of fake legs in tight gold leggings), are impossible to look away from, and absolute comedy gold.

Fiona, played by Faye Brookes, is also spectacular, not just vocally, but in her whole performance – she’s so expressive, so full of personality that you can’t help but warm to her.

She also proved, half way through the performance, that the show must go on, when a wardrobe malfunction left her without her skirt (don’t worry, she had sparkly hot pants from the previous number) – if we hadn’t seen the skirt hastily thrown off stage, we wouldn’t have known she was underdressed – she gave no sign.

Dean Chisnall makes an excellent Shrek – it’s hard to imagine what he must go through in that costume, it’s an active role and he has to suffer for it, but the finished product is impressive, a true ogre. It does, however, limit him somewhat, and you may find yourself more taken by Idriss Kargbo, who plays Donkey. Despite his costume, he’s surprising limber – he even does the splits in one particularly flamboyant number.

It’s the dragon though, that comes through as the unexpected star. With the voice of Candace Furbert and an incredible life-size puppet of the dragon controlled by no less than four people, it’s impressive to say the least – and the adults were as mesmerised as the kids.

Despite being a West End Production that’s no doubt accustomed to a larger stage, Shrek the Musical felt right at home in Leeds Grand Theatre. It had the same wow-factor that you’d expect from a London theatre – with bright colourful sets that brought the fairytale to life, and captured Fiona’s curse perfectly – ‘By night one way, by day another.’

They made the most of the space too, but we’ll leave you to find out what that means, because the beauty of Shrek the Musical lies in the surprises it holds – and we’re not giving anything away that would spoil that.

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.