Sunday, 25 January 2015

If you go down to the Swamp today....

If you go down to the swamp today - or any day there's a performance - you can be sure of two and a half hours of fantastic entertainment and the chance to see one of the UK's very best actresses live on stage.

As you can see from the tweets below the Scots recognise talent when they see it and are loving Faye's brilliant portrayal of Princess Fiona.

If you live anywhere near Aberdeen make sure you don't miss your chance to see this spectacular musical at Her Majesty's Theatre. BOOK TICKETS

The show is going down a strom in it's first foray north of the border, with an extra date being added to the schedule to cope with the overwhelming demand for tickets.

Check out the latest glowing review below written by Victoria Pease for STV ABERDEEN:

Dumping a swamp, two castles, a forest and a cathedral into His Majesty’s Theatre, Shrek the Musical has well and truly turned Aberdeen green.

With Thursday's bold and brash Scottish premiere kicking-off the show's UK tour, the stage version of the animated movie proved popular with an packed audience ready to to join the unlikely hero on his journey from lonely ogre to loveable hero.

For those who have loved the Scottish ogre since the original 2001 blockbuster, the musical is a faithful adaptation of the film with a large proportion of the dialogue and jokes word-perfect, which may disappoint some fans looking for a different perspective on the story.

Perhaps aimed more towards the children in the audience than the film's original overall appeal for all ages, the silly gags and slapstick evoked plenty of giggles from the younger members of the audience.

However adults aren't left out with some inspired set design, puppeteering and costumes to marvel at, all of which draw the audience into the fairytale town of Duloch, overseen by the villainous Lord Farquaard.

The story sees our hero Shrek trekking to the town unwillingly accompanied by Idriss Kargbo’s annoying talking Donkey in a bid to reclaim a swamp overrun with evicted fairytale characters.

He soon finds himself involved a quest to rescue a princess from a tower guarded by a dragon and return her to Farquaard, an act which offers the conniving Lord his only chance of becoming King.

But with a curse afflicting the radiant yet challenging Princess Fiona, a lovelorn dragon, and an ogre struggling to share his feelings, the road to a happy ending for the characters is a rocky one.

Dean Chisnall’s Shrek is a quieter, more reserved version of the brash hero and shared his softer side early on in the action, and although his Scottish accent wavered at times, he achieved a good balance between some impressive vocals alongside a twang of Scots during the songs, especially in act one’s concluding number Who I’d Be.

Princess Fiona is hammed up rather well by Faye Brookes, who brings a kookier side to the girl trapped in a curse, offering the audience an understanding of a character who has been locked away for years with only the ideology of a traditional happy ending for company.

This is perhaps most apparent in the performance of I Know It’s Today, using three actresses to depict Fiona’s optimism of her fairytale coming true fading with time.

However Gerard Carey completely stole the show as Lord Farquaad in what must be the most challenging stage role in the business, as he expertly commanded the stage despite his tiny stature with an almost pantomime-esque performance in numerous songs and dance numbers.

Perhaps the only character to really step outside the movie and into musical mode, the role is ramped up for laughs which came aplenty from a delighted audience and perhaps earned Carey the biggest cheers of the evening for every look of derision, feigned shock and scurry across the stage.

And as the musical’s multiple messages of not judging a book by its cover and being unafraid to show your true self comes to its emboldened conclusion, the cry that fairytales should be rewritten seems never more apparent as the three pigs dance alongside a cross dressing wolf, a fiery dragon and two lovestruck ogres in the finale performance of I’m a Believer.

For those who believe in fairytales, Shrek is a good old fashioned fun tale with a few twists but plenty of fire from the original film.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Building the Swamp!

We all know Faye is super talented and can turn her hand to almost anything, but does she get actively involved in building the swamp at each new venue?

Er. . . . . . no. That's no job for a Princess!

However I still thought it was worth featuring this great video showing the stage being assembled - in record time - at Her Majesty's Theatre in Aberdeen.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Faye's off to Bonnie Scotland!

After a well earned break Faye will be off to Bonnie Scotland tomorrow for the next stop on Shrek the Musical's UK Tour.

Hopefully she's had a relaxing week off and has managed recharge her batteries before she makes the long trip north to Aberdeen.

Thankfully she and Gareth managed to get away for a few days to a beautiful and idyllic setting overlooking the German Alps.

As you can see the view was simply breathtaking. There really are some incredibly beautiful places on this planet and that would definitely be one of them.

However, they have to holiday in some pretty special locations just to beat the spectacular panoramic view they get at home.

The picture below was taken last Saturday from their London apartment.

In the highest room, In the tallest tower, You'll find. . . . .

It's now back to work for our favourite Princess and a return to his homeland for our friendly ogre. Dean's Scottish accent will be put to the test as the show ventures north of the border for the first time.

Faye and her wonderful Shrek co stars will be entertaining audiences at Her Majesty's Theatre in Aberdeen between Wednesday, 21st January and Sunday, 8th February.

Due to the overwhelming demand for tickets they've had to squeeze in an extra performance on Tuesday 3rd February. The Scots clearly don't want to miss their opportunity to see the UK's finest actress on stage. 

I visited Aberdeen during my own tour of the Scottish Highlands about 7 years ago. However, that was in mid summer and surprisingly for Scotland most days were sunny and hot.

Unfortunately for Faye I don't think they'll be any need for sun cream during her stay in the granite city. She'll need to pack her winter woolies because temperatures rarely get above freezing there in January and there is regular snowfall and strong coastal winds.

Looks like she's preparing well though because she and Gareth were at the health clinic today for a pre Aberdeen vitamin boost.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, Who's the fairest of them all. . . . . . 
If there ever was a perfect couple, this one qualifies. . . . . . .

Hopefully it helps keep them both fit and well through these cold winter month's.

Have to say, they're looking super stylish in the picture above and I think I'm in love with Faye's coat. Probably wouldn't look as good on me though :) 

I'm not sure whether they'll be there this time of year but I was lucky enough to watch a group of Dolphins playing near the harbour during my holiday in Aberdeen. Apparently it's one of the best places to see Dolphins in Europe.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Two Princess Fiona's!

Massive thanks to Lucy for letting us feature this lovely picture of her & Faye which was taken during the special Shrek tour meet and greet event - Storytime with Princess Fiona - at Manchester's Selfridges store in December.

Lucy was one of three wonderful, extremely talented girls who played the role of Young Fiona while Shrek the Musical was at the Palace theatre in Manchester.

I was lucky enough to see Lucy on both my visits to the Palace & she really was superb. I think she's destined to follow in Faye's footsteps & is a star of the future for sure.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Sarah O'Brien With Princess Fiona!

Check out this lovely picture of Faye in full Princess Fiona costume with Sarah O'Brien one of the marvellous dressers who worked on Shrek the Muscial during the shows stay at the Palace Theatre in Manchester.

There are so many wonderful people behind the scenes on a show like Shrek who don't really get the recognition they deserve for their fantastic work.

Dressers like Sarah are stagehands who are involved with maintaining costume quality at every performance. They are responsible for dressing the actors and ensuring they walk on stage in their full and proper costume. They also assist with any costume changes throughout the performance.

If you've seen Shrek the Muscial UK Tour you'll already know they do an incredible job.

Many thanks to Sarah for allowing us to feature this beautiful picture of her and Faye which was taken on Shrek's final day at the Palace last Sunday.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Goodbye and Thank You Manchester!

As we say a final goodbye to Manchester lets take a look back at what some of the critics thought of Shrek's very special Princess:

Dean Chisnall and Faye Brookes, as Shrek and Princess Fiona, have a delightful chemistry and sensational voices, setting a superb standard for the full company.

Brookes especially revels in breaking the convention of leading lady perfection, with a brilliantly quirky portrayal.

The star of the show, undoubtedly, is Faye Brookes as Princess Fiona, with a performance full of life and humour.

From Lynda Baron, the object of Arkwwright's affections in Open All Hours to Matthew Kelly, Urmston has produced some fine actors over the years. 

After watching Shrek - The Musical you can now add the name of Faye Brookes, who plays Princess Fiona, the lovable ogre's love interest, to the list. 

Whether she's singing the incurably catchy score or having fun with our hero, this gifted actress is equally at home when it comes to comedy. She also has a potent chemistry with Dean Chisnall (Shrek) and this is particularly evident when they engage in, what is, to put it mildly, a competition with a difference.

And Dean Chisnall and Faye Brookes as Shrek and Fiona have a great on stage rapport for their cheeky courtship song 'I think I got you beat'. 

In fact Urmston actress Faye shines as Fiona, with breath-taking vocals and perfect comic timing she gives Dean a run for his money as the title character.

Princess Fiona played by Faye Brooks is brilliant, she oozes class in a very talented company, she is everything you want from a Fiona, witty, feisty and very funny. 

Her performance, from dance numbers to comedy skits is handled with real confidence and skill.

Playing the object of his affection, Princess Fiona, is Flixton born Faye Brookes who puts in a fine performance as the feisty Princess. 

Brookes is a triple threat performer who can sing, dance and act. 

She previously toured as Elle in Legally Blonde where she demonstrated some perfect comic timing and again she does so here, especially with Chisnall in the number I Think I Got You Beat- a modern day version of Anything You Can Do (complete with burping and twerking)!

And at the heart of the show are Shrek and Fiona (Dean Chisnall and Faye Brookes), he much annoyed by the invasion of his swamp by (beautifully done) fairytale characters, she much bossier and funnier than in the film - partly thanks to a strong script and mostly thanks to Brookes' terrifically understated delivery.

Faye Brookes is fantastic as Princess Fiona and has great chemistry with Dean Chisnall.

Former Knutsford schoolgirl Faye Brookes also excelled as Princess Fiona, with both providing perfect comic timing during their duet I Think I Got You Beat.

Faye Brookes sparkled from start to finish with stunning vocals and sensational acting.

Faye Brookes and Dean Chisnall were equally entertaining as the loveable grumpy ogre Shrek and his happy ever after Princess Fiona, who claims years of being locked in a tower like Rapunzel has affected her mental health, well it would wouldn’t it!

Faye Brookes is Princess Fiona and she is very very good; I was particularly impressed with the swift and seamless transformations during "I Know It's Today" which sees Princess Fiona transform from child, to teen, to woman.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Beautiful Princess at the Palace!

After 6 weeks and over 50 performances Shrek tour's time at the Palace Theatre in Manchester finally came to an end on Sunday night.

It's been an incredible run which has entertained over 120,000 mancunians over the festive season.

I was there for the final show and there wasn't a spare seat in the house. As you can tell from my tweets I had Shrek-tacular time.

After the show I caught up with Faye at the stage door.

We had a lovely chat about Christmas and she thanked me for my present which I'd given her when I saw her back in December.

I'm delighted she seemed to be genuinely over the moon with the gift because it's always a little tricky trying to buy for someone you care so much about but maybe don't know as well as a close friend or family member.

As a fan, knowing Faye liked the present & appreciated the gesture really made my day.

We talked a bit about her week off and how every cast member is definitely ready for a break after their tiring schedule over the festive season.

Faye said she hoping to go away for a few days for some well earned rest and recuperation. Hopefully she'll have a lovely holiday, she's certainly earned it.

She's probably jetting off to warmer climes because when she gets back she'll be heading to Aberdeen in northern Scotland for the next leg of the Shrek tour.

Temperatures up there rarely get above freezing this time of year and there is often heavy snowfall and strong coastal winds so she'll definitely need to wrap up warm.

Hopefully the highland beasty I gave her will look after her and bring her more luck than the leprechaun did in Ireland.

My only regret from yesterday is that I didn't take my camera to the stage door because Faye was looking breathtakingly beautiful and I wasn't able to get a picture. I won't be making that mistake again.

Eventually I had to let her go and start my long trip back to Bristol.

Unfortunately traffic was very heavy due to the big match at Old Trafford but I finally got home just after midnight, still buzzing after watching another magical performance from my favourite leading lady.

Check back tomorrow for a special post featuring a collection of snippets from Manchester Shrek reviews where critics and fans wax lyrical about Faye's remarkable performances as Princess Fiona during the shows stay at the Palace Theatre..

Friday, 9 January 2015

Shrek Wins CityLife Award!

Congratualtions to Faye and all the wonderful Shrek tour cast and crew for winning the Manchester CityLife award for best musical.

Much deserved recognition for a fabulous show and an incredible team.

Here is an article from todays Manchester Evening News:

MUSICALS are just about the most fun any family can have together, and don’t our theatres know it?

A solid set of musicals is a critical part of any entertainment calendar these days, but the city centre theatres continue to dominate in this arena, attracting the big touring shows when they head up here from the West End.

That’s not exclusively true. On our shortlist were two stellar shows in Salford and at the Royal Northern College of Music: Cape Town Opera’s Show Boat, over at The Lowry in July, and RNCM Opera’s presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s exceptional musical comedy Company in June.

Dominating the shortlist, though, was the Ambassador Theatre Group venues, the Palace Theatre and Opera House, which stole three of the five places in our 2014 Best Musical category.

The first of these was Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which arrived at the Opera House in February staring My Family’s Robert Lindsay, Samantha Bond and comic presenter Rufus Hound.

Gushing reviews were echoed in September when Tony and Olivier Award winner Jersey Boys - the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons - came to the Palace Theatre.

But it’s the last musical of the year that has nipped in to steal the title: the stage adaptation of Dreamworks musical Shrek which, under the care of director (and former Eastender) Nigel Harman, made its way to Manchester’s Palace just before Christmas.

An hilarious mix of child and adult humour, risque but too silly to be rude, it featured a lavish set and costumes, fabulous cast and a great script packed with super comic timing and beefed out by a catchy original score.

The real star, though, was Lord Farquhar, whose incredible puppet legs left everyone rooting for the bad guy!

Accepting the award, Palace Theatre manager Stacey Broadmeadow told CityLife: “We are extremely proud that Shrek has won the best musical award.

“The production has wowed over 80,000 people this festive season and will continue to as the show tours the rest of the UK.”

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Only 5 Shows Left at the Palace!

There are only five more Shrek the Musical performances left at the Palace Theatre in Manchester.

I'm currently trying to fight off my second cold of the winter to be fit for the final show on Sunday.

If you're a Mancunian and haven't seen it yet make sure you grab one of the few remaining seats before it leaves for it's next destination in bonny Scotland.

I guarantee you'll love it and be totally blown away by Faye's sensational performance as Princess Fiona.

In fact just having the opportunity to see the UK's most talented leading lady perform is reason enough to get yourself a ticket. Just ask these Shrekies who saw the show last night:

Monday, 5 January 2015

Manchester Theatre Awards Review!

Faye will be returning to the Royal Exchange Theatre this evening where this time last year she was performing in Victoria Woods wonderful play 'That Day We Sang'.

This time however she will be in the audience supporting her friend Kelly Price who is playing Audrey in 'The Little Shop of Horrors'.

Sounds like a fantastic night out to me. Manchester has certainly been the place to be for the best shows this Christmas.

With the Shrek Tour about to start its final week of six at the Palace Theatre I thought we should feature another of the many glowing reviews the show has received since in landed in Manchester.

This one was written by Paul Genty for the Manchester Theatre Awards website:

Shrek the Musical

Reproducing the humour and animated effects of the original Shrek movie might seem a tall order but this terrifically entertaining musical manages to do so by extending the film's knowing sense of humour and adding its own live dose of energy and sassiness.

As a result the story takes on a new and vibrant life in some areas and compromises in others - but comes out well on the positive side.

Boosted well beyond his cinematic charactefr, for example, is the comedy highlight of the show - no, not Donkey but Lord Farquaad, blessed with a wonderfully condescending performance by Gerard Carey and doubly blessed by the fact that he spends the entire evening walking on his (hidden) knees, with bendy short legs standing in for his own. The result is simply hilarious and silly, one of many silly sights both new and borrowed.

There's Shrek and Fiona's bonding farting contest, for example, which I don't recall from the movie, but then there's Pinocchio's expanding nose and the much put-upon gingerbread man, which I do. There's a brilliant compromise puppet dragon too, whose affair with Donkey (Idriss Kargbo) is glossed over a bit but which doesn't detract from its imposing presence.

And at the heart of the show are Shrek and Fiona (Dean Chisnall and Faye Brookes), he much annoyed by the invasion of his swamp by (beautifully done) fairytale characters, she much bossier and funnier than in the film - partly thanks to a strong script and mostly thanks to Brookes' terrifically understated delivery.

The songs? Well, you won't go out humming them (though perhaps a recreation of the film's final rendition of I'm a Believer might do the trick), but they have sharp lyrics and don't generally outstay their welcome.

The disappointment of the night must be Donkey: no slight to the actor playing him, but Eddie Murphy's brilliant dialogue would have been hard for anyone to beat, and here it isn't. 

Overall though this is a wonderfully silly and enjoyable night out: strongly recommended if you aren't a panto devotee.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

The Perfect Princess Anna!

I must admit, until Faye mentioned 'Frozen' in her answer to my final tour question a few weeks ago, I didn't know much about the film & had no idea it was being made into a musical.

Tour Question #12
What are the chances of you doing another tour in the future?

Faye's Answer
I would really love to do another tour but I think it would have to be a very special show for me to be apart of. 


I've since discovered it's the highest grossing animated movie of all time & when I saw it was on Sky over Xmas decided it was about time I found out what all the fuss is about.

I'm so glad I did. I absolutely loved it.

Not only is it a great story with fantastic characters but the music is superb. I have no doubt the musical will be spectacular. In a lot of ways it reminds me of Wicked which has been a massive success on both sides of the pond.

Faye has had so many wonderful roles over the years & has been sensational in every one. So much so that it's now impossible to think of anyone else as Elle Woods or Princess Fiona. However, if there was ever a part that was absolutely made for Faye I think its Princess Anna in Frozen.

While I was watching the film it was impossible not to imagine Faye in the role. It's almost as though the part was created specifically for her.

It would be a dream combination in my opinion, everything fits. Faye is such a supremely talented actress she would bring the character of Princess Anna to life in a way that no one else could & take the fantastic songs from the show to new heights with her stunning vocals. I've seen her do it many times in very similar roles.

The musical is still in the works & it may be some time before it lands in the UK but when it does, they'd be crazy not to consider Faye for the part of Princess Anna. With the right casting this show could be EPIC & I can tell you now, they won't find anyone better or more suited to the role than Faye. She would be perfect.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year Everyone!

Well another year has flown by and what an incredible 12 month's it's been for Faye.

I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to play a small part in promoting the career of such a talented and special actress.

It all started back in January at the iconic Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester where Faye performed a variety of of parts in Victoria Woods heart warming play 'That Day We Sang'.

Soon after, she began filming for her first major TV role as Agnes Franklin in the fabulous BBC period drama Our Zoo. It didn't air until September but it was worth the wait and Faye proved to be equally captivating on screen as she is on stage.

Created with flickr slideshow.

And for the past 6 month's she's been wowing audiences across the UK as the beautiful, but sometimes very green Princess Fiona in Shrek the Musical. A role she continue to play in 2015.

A play, a TV drama and a musical, very different shows and very different roles for Faye but it's no surprise to me that she was sensational in all three.

I'm sure 2015 will be equally magical for Faye and as always you'll be able to read all about it here on her #1 fan site.

I'd like to wish Faye, Gareth, their families and all our readers a very happy and prosperous new year.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Merry Christmas Manchester Video!

A little late I know but we're still in the festive season so I thought I could get away with posting this brilliant Manchester Evening News Xmas video.

Make sure you look out for a special cameo appearance from a very happy and Christmassy Princess Fiona.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Tweets from Shrek Fans in Manchester!

Some of us have only just finished off our turkeys but remarkably Faye has already completed 6 shows since Christmas. In fact it's the busiest part of the tour for the Shrek tour cast because there are extra matinee performances over the festive season and the 25th is the only day they get off between the 15th and 31st December.

It's amazing how they still manage to deliver such fantastic, high energy performances night after night with such a tiring schedule. They all deserve massive credit.

As you know, I've featured a lot of wonderful glowing reviews of Shrek the Musical, all of which praise Faye for her sensational performance as Princess Fiona. However, to make a change I thought I'd post a collection of tweets from Shrekies who have seen the show since it arrived at the Palace Theatre in Manchester just 4 weeks ago: