Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Princess to Ogre in 90 Seconds!

Faye recently talked to Kelly Apter from 'The List' about one of the quickest on stage transformations in muscial theatre.

Quick changes are a part of life in the theatre, but anyone who has seen the first Shrek film will know that Fiona’s transformation from traditional beauty to green ogre is far from subtle. 

‘It takes 90 seconds and it’s awful,’ laughs Faye Brooks, who plays the part of Fiona in the UK tour of Shrek the Musical. ‘I put on the same dress but it’s padded, the make-up artist transforms me with ogre ears and green paint, I pull on a green cowl and fat hands and then, eureka, I’m back on stage again.'

Brooks describes it as 90 seconds of madness for both herself and her entourage. ‘But I honestly love the fact that I’ve worked my way through the story to that point,’ she continues. ‘Fiona has a constant fear of being found out and can’t show her true colours, because she thinks that she’s not beautiful. But by the end, she’s been through so much, the transformation makes sense, and it shocks people in the right way.’

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Birmingham Hippodrome!

Next stop for Faye and her Shrek Tour fairytale friends is the Birmingham Hippodrome.

As you can see from the picture, the exterior of the theatre was - quite recently - substantially rebuilt but inside they've kept many of the traditional features. The best of both worlds you could say.

Despite living less than 2 hours away in Bristol I've never actually been to the Hippodrome so I'm really looking forward to seeing it when I make my 12th trip to the swamp on Saturday.

Faye is absolutely spectacular as the bi-polar Princess and as the show is there for 4 weeks I couldn't resist booking to see it twice. I'll be heading back up the M5 to Birmingham at the end of April :)

If you live in the Midlands make sure you catch this amazing show while it's in town.

BOOK TO SEE SHREK AT THE BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME

Although this will be my first ever visit to the Hippodrome, I did actually travel to Birmingham to see Faye in Legally Blonde at the New Alexandra Theatre. Unfortunately that particular trip didn't quite go to plan. Faye was unwell and therefore unable to perform, meaning I didn't get to see the real Elle Woods on that occasion :(

Keeping everything crossed for better luck this time.

I hope Faye and her Shrek Tour co stars have a fantastic first show at the Hippodrome tonight and a wonderful 4 weeks in the Black Country!

Monday, 30 March 2015

Rebecca's Shrek Day in Newcastle!

Massive thanks to Rebecca for letting us feature her lovely stage door picture with Faye and writing a short review for the blog about her visit to the Theatre Royal in Newcastle to see Shrek last Friday.


I was looking forward to seeing Shrek for the first time and it didn't disappoint.  It was really funny and the audience clearly enjoyed it.  Lord Farquard was hilarious but the standout performance for me had to be Faye as Princess Fiona.  Her singing and dancing were fabulous but it was the comedy of her performance that I enjoyed the most, she does such great facial expressions.  There were a few moments that really made me think of seeing her as Elle Woods and like that I can't imagine watching anyone else in the role now.

I waited at the stage door as usual and missed all the rest of the cast as I was worried about missing Faye.  She came out with a few other people and I had to shout her name so I didn't miss her.  I think she was in a hurry but she was still kind enough to sign my programme, take a picture and share a few words which made my night.  I look forward to seeing what she does next.

Friday, 27 March 2015

A Look Back at Newcastle!

Faye's unlikely to leave Newcastle before 9pm on Sunday after her final show at the Theatre Royal but she'll be back on stage at the Birmingham Hippodrome on Tuesday.

That's right, just a single day off to recover from a gruelling three weeks in the North East. Just as well she's Superwoman.

Before they move on to Birmingham I thought we'd feature a few more tweets from fans & take a look back at what the Newcastle critics thought of our favourite Princess.


NEWCASTLE CHRONICLE
"One of the main catalysts was the truly fantastic Faye Brookes as Princess Fiona. Every fairy tale needs a damsel in distress but while pandering to the stereotype in numbers like I Know It’s Today, Faye’s Fiona was anything but one dimensional. 

The wit was there along with impeccable comic timing which combined to make Fiona a different brand of damsel entirely."

HARTLEPOOL MAIL
"Faye Brookes is fiercely wonderful as the unconventional Princess."

THE JOURNAL
"As Princess Fiona, Faye Brookes is equally endearing, counting the days to her fairytale release from a gilded tower with signs of increasing exasperation."

FUN WITH THE FAMILY BLOG
"I loved Faye Brookes sassy Princess Fiona, she definitely wasn't the damsel in distress and had lots of girl power."

THE NORTHERN ECHO
"Brookes throws herself into everything from tap dancing with rats to battling into her ogre costume and belting out her big songs like I Know It's Today and Morning Person."

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Spot The Odd One Out!

Congratulations to Maria and Hayley for winning our 'Spot the odd one out' competition.

We had some good guesses along the way but it was Maria and Hayley who got it right in the end. Both tweeting me the correct answer within seconds of each other.

Elle Woods is the odd one out because she is the only one who isn't a Princess; the others being Princess Jasmine, Princess Aurora and Princess Fiona.

Thanks to everyone who took part. They'll be another picture game next month.

 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Waring & McKenna

You no doubt all follow Faye on Twitter / Facebook and have probably seen her IMDB page but have you the visited Waring & McKenna website to check out her CV?

It lists all her work in theatre and TV and also features a short video of one of her many great scenes from Our Zoo.

FAYE BROOKES - WARING & MCKENNA

You might think being the agent of someone as talented as Faye is an easy job and to a certain extent that is true. Faye is an incredibly beautiful and gifted actress that any show would be lucky to have. However, it is a highly competitive business and Waring & McKenna have done excellent work helping her secure some fantastic roles.

Of course you can only tell so much from someone's CV. What is doesn't say is just how sensational Faye has been in every single role she's played.

That's where the blog comes in. We make sure everyone knows just how special Faye is.

Hopefully potential employers might visit the site and if they do they'd surely be impressed with the endless dazzling reviews from critics and fans that all adore this exceptional young actress.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Newcastle Chronicle Shrek Review

This time last week I was heading back to my car after another wonderful day in Duloc and a lovely chat with Faye at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle.

Seems longer to be honest but at least I only have to wait 2 more weeks to see the show again when I make my first ever trip to the Hippodrome in Birmingham.

A much shorter journey thankfully and as they're in the Black Country for 4 weeks I couldn't resist booking to see it twice :)

Below is another 5 Star Review of this fantastic production. This one was written by Simon Duke for the Newcastle Chronicle:

Review: Shrek at Theatre Royal Newcastle


It’s St Patrick’s Day in a few days time and Newcastle is shining a timely shade of green thanks to the splendid Shrek The Musical at the Theatre Royal.

Trying to bring an animated icon to the stage could be viewed as either a thankless task because audiences will constantly compare the production to the film or a win win situation as people revel in seeing their favourite character take on a new lease of life whilst enjoying the things that struck a chord in the first instance.

Thankfully for tour director, former Eastenders actor Nigel Harman, the result is most definitely the latter.

The musical might not have a stand out song of the ilk of Defying Gravity, Any Dream Will Do or Memory but as a collective the musical score works incredibly well and allows each character’s personality traits to shine through.

Speaking of other shows, Shrek was like a game of I Spy for musical connoisseurs in the audience with not so subtle but highly entertaining nuances to the likes of Wicked, Dirty Dancing, The Lion King and West Side Story peppered in between its own memorable moments.

Having seen the show in London’s West End a few years ago and come out with an opinion of the show that was neither here nor there, I wasn’t sure if a second bite of the Shrek cherry would be any more satisfying but by gosh it was.

One of the main catalysts was the truly fantastic Faye Brookes as Princess Fiona. Every fairy tale needs a damsel in distress but while pandering to the stereotype in numbers like I Know It’s Today, Faye’s Fiona was anything but one dimensional.

The wit was there along with impeccable comic timing which combined to make Fiona a different brand of damsel entirely.

The Prince Charming to her Cinderella arrived of course in the form of a large, lovable green ogre by the name of Shrek and like Faye, Dean Chisnell was an absolute delight in the title role.

It would have very easy for Dean and his director to take Shrek full steam ahead down a purely comedic path but while there were bags of laughs with funny flatulence aplenty, there were also lots of sensitive moments and fine vocals in the likes of Big Bright Beautiful World and Who I’d Be.

In a production packed full of endearing characters another was Idriss Kargbo’s Donkey.

A charming concoction of cool and camp, Donkey, to coin a reality TV cliché, owned the stage. Everything from Idriss’ movement to the sassy delivery of his lines was perfect for the part.

Speaking of camp, there was also a generous helping of it from Gerard Carey’s Lord Farquaad. The tiny tyrant was fantastically well staged in a way that has to be seen to be believed and Gerard hammed it up to perfection.

The supporting cast including a local girl as Young Fiona and fairy tale favourites like Pinocchio, Little Red Riding Hood and a cross-dressing Big Bad Wolf were also on fine form which made song and dance numbers like This Is Our Story and encore I’m A Believer highly infectious.

And praise has to he heaped on the production team for the colourful and captivating staging- particularly Candance Furbert's feisty and fine voiced Dragon- which was another colourful ingredient to making Shrek the viewing pleasure it was.

You’ve got until Sunday, March 29 to catch Shrek at the Theatre Royal. You’ll regret if you don’t!

Friday, 20 March 2015

Making Dreams Come True!

Well done to Faye, Dean and the Shrek Tour for arranging this lovely surprise for Callum after yesterdays matinee performance

Callum McGilligan has a rare, incurable brain condition and made a bucket list with his family that included meeting Shrek and Princess Fiona - today the Theatre and the Shrek team made his dream come true.

I'm sure these pictures will be treasured mementos of his visit to the Swamp.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Shrek Fans Tweet From Geordieland!

After a couple of days break Faye was back on stage last night for the start of Shreks second week in Newcastle.

As you can see from his latest tweet, Gareth has also arrived in the North East.

Despite a hectic schedule himself, he's been wonderful throughout the tour and has travelled to every venue to spend time with his Princess.

There are now only 15 shows left at the Theatre Royal and every one has nearly sold old. However, there are a handful of tickets still available so if you haven't already done so, make sure you visit the Swamp before it leaves the toon.

BOOK TICKETS FOR SHREK THE MUSICAL AT THE THEATRE ROYAL, NEWCASTLE

Judging by these tweets it seems the Geordies have taken Faye to their hearts and are loving this fantastic, feel good, family show:

The opportunity to see a leading lady as talented as Faye in such a marvelous show mean many fans can't resist going back for a second viewing.

As you can see from her tweet above, Sarah can't wait to return to Shreks Big, Bright, Beautiful world to see Faye and her fairytale friends again next week.

Having seen it 11 times myself I know exactly how she feels!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Real Angel of the North!

I still can't quite believe that on Sunday I was walking through the streets of Newcastle with the real Angel of the North, Miss Faye Brookes.

I'd made the looooong trip to Newcastle to see her in Shrek for the 11th time and despite barely having chance to catch breath between shows, she still made time to meet me for a quick chat.

I'd booked for the 1pm performance which finished at about 3:30pm. That gave Faye just 90 minutes to remove all her ogre make-up, get changed, grab a bite to eat and prepare for the next show which strated at 5pm.

The fact she still found time to meet me shows what a kind & thoughtful person she is.

Do you like my tweet? If you've seen Shrek you've probably already guessed it's to the tune of 'I Know it's Today'.

During our chat I was able to tell her how much I enjoyed the show and that she once again blew my mind with her stunning performance as Fiona. The venues may change but Faye's brilliance never falters and her voice is so special I'd travel to the end of the Earth to hear her sing just one line of a song.

I asked her whether she'd enjoyed her 9 day break between Canterbury and Newcastle but unfortunately she'd been unwell for much of it. She and Gareth therefore just had a relaxing time at home, which is actually a rare treat with their hectic schedules.

They did find time to catch up with a few friends and the above picture was taken on one of those occasions at a nearby London bar / restaurant.

Apparently there are still many cast members suffering from illness. This winter seems to have been a partiucularly bad one for viruses and with such a gruelling schedule I suppose it must be difficult not to get run down..

In just 5 days in Newcastle Faye had rehearsals, 8 performances, press night and promotional work, all while trying to settle into a new venue.

She and Gerard Carey who plays Farquaard also did a special talk for the 'Friends of Theatre Royal' on Saturday morning.

As you can see from the above tweets the event was a massive success.

It seems everyone who was there thoroughly enjoyed it, especially Sarah Cassidy who managed to get a photo with Shreks special Princess.

Faye told me how much she likes Newcastle and the beautiful Theatre Royal. It's another venue she has been to before and has many happy memrories from her time there with Legally Blonde.

Her digs are really nice and not too far from the theatre but after a tiring day she usually takes a taxi. The cast choose their accommodation from a list of available places. Faye usually uses self serviced apartments where she can cook her own food and live more like she would at home.

I told her that I nearly went to Skipton the previous day to see Gareth. I was passing pretty close as I travelled up to Newcastle after watching a football match in Halifax on Saturday afternoon.

I didn't quite make it in the end but it would have been nice to see him perform and say hello. I'm a fan of anyone who puts a smile on Faye's beautiful face and nobody does that better than Gareth.

Faye said she is looking forward to a couple of days off and would be heading to her family home in Manchester straight after the 5pm performance to see her Mum on Mothers Day.

She tweeted this lovely message and picture of the two of them later that evening.

Some of our chat took place at the stage door and some as I walked with her to a nearby Pret a Manger where she was hoping to grab a bite to eat.

Eventually I had to let her go and make my way back to the car.

I decided not to take my camera and ask for a picture on this occasion because I knew how little time she had between shows. Hopefully I didn't hold her up too much and she was ready to go back on stage at 5pm.

I can't thank her enough for meeting me. She really is as lovely as she is talented.

Before I made the long drive home on Monday morning I said goodbye to this noble steed who was living in a field outside my hotel on the outskirts of Newcastle.

He was trying to convince me he's 7th stand in for Donkey in Shrek Tour but I think he was winding me up.

The Shrek swamp is such a Big, Bright, Beautiful place it's always a little sad to leave but luckily I only have to wait 3 weeks before I can do it all again.

My next trip to see Faye is on Saturday 4th April in Birmingham! Can't wait!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Fearless, Fun and Fiesty Fiona!

Later today I'm setting off for a long weekend up north.

My first stop is Halifax where I hope to see my football team - Bristol Rovers - secure another win to stay top of the league. Then on Sunday morning I continue on to Newcastle to see Shrek and catch up with Faye at the Theatre Royal.

I wont be back until late Monday night so unfortunately this will be the last post until the middle of next week :(

Luckily I can at least leave you with another glowing review. This one was written by Michael Pearson for the Northumberland Gazette.

As you can see he loved Faye so much he even tweeted about her stunning performance as Princess Fiona.

Read the full review below and if you live in Geordieland make sure you head down to the toon to see this fantastic show.

The Northumberland Gazette Reviews:
Shrek the Musical at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle

Grey Street goes green to welcome a special character this month - and judging from the audience’s response tonight, the North East could be his home.

The highly-anticipated, larger-than-life, musical attraction Shrek the Musical that is full of flatulence and fun has arrived at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal.

The show firmly replicates the hit mock-Disney Hollywood blockbuster that follows a big green ogre and an unlikely tale of friendship, trust and eventually love.

But the musical version takes a closer look at the troubled lives of Shrek (Dean Chisnall) and Princess Fiona (Faye Brookes), who are pitted together by the hilariously brilliant Lord Farquad played by a ‘larger than life’ Gerard Carey.

The show is held together by a magically brilliant company which bring the necessary energy to hold up some of its hardest musical numbers.

But the fun and games don’t stop there.

Children will fall in love with the striking costumes and latex which do not disappoint. The set, which has been specially designed for the tour, transformed the Royal into a stunningly complex dream sequence which enraptured the audience throughout.

As far as performances were concerned, Faye Brookes is a fearless, fun and feisty Fiona and all credit to the production team for avoiding a drastic celebrity casting while performers like Brookes are perfectly capable in the lead roles.

But Gerard Carey steals the show from under their noses. He is show-stoppingly-hilarious as the vertically-challenged Lord Farquad.

The fairy tale folk are well defined and the appearance of the dragon, which looked like a magical version of War Horse, stunned the audience.

The design (Tim Hatley) and lighting (Hugh Vanstone) drew the audience in and the original score (Jeanine Tesori), for me, saves the show from falling into a juke-box catastrophe, but the show does dangle on a fine line.

Nigel Harman’s stab at directing after he starred superbly as Farquad on the West End was an admirable attempt but needs further work.

Some of the scenes were uneven and the pace of the show, at times, laboured - most often in the Donkey’s scenes.

It was clear that Harman knew his strengths particularly when it came to the wicked lord’s sections of the show, but other parts fell flat.

In the first half, the songs rush into scenes while the company dashed to change costumes at least 10 or 11 times with little time to spare.

The second act picked up the pace and with a more receptive audience, the next thing you know, we’re being sung out with a classic pop song by The Monkees which made the film famous.

I particularly enjoyed references to various musicals from Gypsy to Wicked and Lion King to Les Mis which keep the musical theatre geeks like myself entertained.

Luckily this story does have a happy ending and you don’t need to watch the film to know that.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself and since I was sitting in a row of people critiquing the show, it was very clear to see that their thoughts were the same.

So yes, four stars for this show and I would encourage Northumberland theatre-goers to make the trip while you still have a chance.

Shrek runs at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal until Sunday, March 29, and this show is 100 per cent suitable for all ages, even dad! So with Mother’s Day around the corner, treat yourself and head down to the toon!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Theatre Royal Newcastle!

After a nine day break it's back to work for Faye as the Shrek Tour kicks off its three week stay in Newcastle later tonight.

She'll be performing at the Theatre Royal which as you can see from the picture is a very grand recently restored listed building found in the heart of the City.

It holds 1294 people over four levels and will no doubt be packed to the rafters every night while Shreks in toon.

See what I did there? That wasn't a typo :-)

I'll be making the long trip to Geordie land this weekend to see the show and hopefully I'll also have the opportunity for a quick catch up with my favourite leading lady.

I hope Faye & her Shrek Tour co stars are all fit & well after their break & that they have a fabulous first show in Newcastle tonight. Whey aye man!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

50,000 Milestone For The Blog!

We've now had over 50,000 hits on the blog and I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has visited the site over the past couple of years.

In the short time I've been running the blog Faye has had many wonderful leading lady roles in some fantastic shows and has also shone on screen in her first major TV role as Agnes Franklin in Our Zoo.

I'm excited to see what the future holds for this incredible young actress and as always you'll be able to read all about it here on the blog.

The #1 site for the UK's #1 leading lady!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Faye's Musical Memories

I just came across this lovely interview Faye and Dean (Shrek) did with the Sunday Post before Shrek Tour's stay at Her Majesty's Theatre in Aberdeen back in January.

Faye talks about her first west end role in Grease the Musical, being the youngest ever Elle Woods and how meeting Gareth was written in the stars.

She also reveals it's not always glamorous being an actress and that she has been soaked live on stage in more ways than one over the years.

We also get to hear exactly how Faye manages to transform from Princess to Ogre in less than a minute.

Faye has already proved she is an incredibly gifted all-round actress performing in 4 hit musicals (Grease, Legally Blonde, The Sound of Music and Shrek), 2 pantomimes (Aladdin and Sleeping Beauty), Victoria Woods heartwarming period play (That Day We Sang) and in 2 very different TV shows (Atlantis and Our Zoo). 

She is a supremely talented and versatile actress and although she loves musicals doesn't want to be pigeonholed in a very cut throat business.

Check out the full interview below:

Dean Chisnall, who plays Shrek, and Faye Brookes, who stars as Princess Fiona, are veterans of some of the nation’s favourite shows. Here, the duo reveal the stories behind their best moments in musicals.

FIRST ROLE
Faye: I opened in the West End as Frenchy in Grease straight out of drama school. I’d left home in Manchester at 18 to go to Guildford School of Acting. I was movie-mad as my two older sisters had brought me up watching old films.

Grease with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John was so iconic that to land that as my first job was amazing.

I didn’t do the opening night as I’d sprained my ankle but when I did get on it was very special. I ended having to go on as Sandy at the last minute. I called my mum telling her I was going to be the leading lady that night and she jumped on a train with my dad, sisters and brother.

SCARY WELCOME
Dean: The first audition I had was when I was still at drama school. I found myself singing in front of Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was absolutely petrifying. He was very nice but you’re aware of all the amazing musicals he’s written and you’re standing in front of him as this young student. It was a heck of a welcome to musicals but a brilliant one too as I got a part in The Woman In White and left drama school early to be in it.

FLYING THE FLAG
Faye: I moved on to play the lead Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Sheridan Smith had played it in the West End and to be flying the flag in the first UK tour was pretty cool. I was just 23, the youngest ever female to play the role.

I’ll always have that as a highlight.

LEGALLY SOAKED
Faye: Musicals are always a madhouse backstage with quick changes and people going about their personal lives – one actor even proposed to his girlfriend in Italy. We all come together as this little family and even if we have a big argument and hate each other, we’ll love each other the next day and get on with our jobs. 

There’s always some prop or wardrobe malfunction but the funniest was in Legally Blonde. As Elle, I was clutching her little dog close to my chest. He was very nervous and got stage fright – and peed all down my front. I was soaking, but the show must go on. So many things can trip you up and you have to learn to roll with it.

WEIRD SCENES
Dean: I’ve been fortunate to work continuously for the last 10 years, moving on to Evita and later doing La Cage Aux Folles alongside John Barrowman. I also did the Take That musical, Never Forget, which was brilliant but a bit bizarre at the same time. I played Gary Barlow in the tour and then in the West End. Take That are such a massive part of many people’s lives that we used to get mobbed. You’d get to the stage door and people were screaming: “Gary, can I have a picture?” as if I really was Gary. It was downright weird.

WET AGAIN
Faye: I did The Sound Of Music at the open air theatre in Regent’s Park, London, for a month last summer. When it rained you just had to carry on. Everybody would get soaked but there were only a few performances that were rained off as it’s upsetting for the audience when it’s cancelled and they have to come back. It was exciting to see if the rain was going to pass and we could just carry on.

FINDING LOVE
Faye: My boyfriend is Gareth Gates. Finding love was the last thing I expected when I signed up for Legally Blonde. I was with it for two years. They couldn’t change the leading role but they changed the rest of the cast every three months to keep it fresh. Gareth came in just at the end as Warner and although I didn’t plan for anything to happen, I think it was kind of written in the stars. I said when it finished I was going straight to do panto in Canterbury – and so was he! Finding my true love on a musical is a dream come true. He knows the industry and understands what it’s like. I’m very, very lucky.

ORGANISED MADNESS
Dean: I’m the only one who has done the entire UK version of Shrek. I was in the London production playing a pig for a year. Then I took over as Shrek and have been playing it ever since on tour. I’ve played the part about 700 times. So even when I’m on stage a lot now I know all about the backstage chaos going on. The attention to detail is what sets it apart. There are so many costumes, they’re flying about in organised madness.

IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN
Faye: The fastest change I’ve ever had to do is in Shrek when Fiona turns into an ogre. I have to run off stage when Shrek stops the wedding and I have just 90 seconds to turn green.

There are four people on me – I have two ladies painting my face green while another of the wardrobe ladies is getting me into my fat suit which has the same wedding dress Princess Fiona had before. Meanwhile another woman is putting fat hands on me. 

I’ve had green paint all over my dress at times but you have to be regimented and I know when to step right or left or lift my hands to get the prosthetics on.

LOVING THE LIFE
Faye: I did Our Zoo on TV recently and did a Victoria Wood play last Christmas so I don’t want to be pigeonholed – but I absolutely love musicals and it’s really special being on stage. I’m very lucky to be working in this industry as it’s very hard and cut-throat.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

The After Show Rollercoaster!

I was thinking recently how to best describe my feelings and emotions when a show finishes and I head off to meet Faye at the stage door.

It might sound a little odd but the only comparison I could come up with is the adrenaline rush you experience when you ride a rollercoaster.

Prelude 1: You've been to this theme park before, had a fantastic time on lots of rides and always wanted to go on the giant rollercoaster. But you're never quite brave enough and leave the park with a tinge of regret.

I'd fallen in love Faye's amazing portrayal of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde and travelled all over the UK watching the show. However, despite really wanting to meet the lady herself, I couldn't pluck up the courage to go to the stage door.

Prelude 2: You decide today is the day. It's time to man up! You're going back to your favourite theme park and this time you're determined to face your fears and ride the rolloercoaster.

After seeing Faye in Legally Blonde about 10 times, I finally decided I have to meet this incredible actress and tell her just how much I love her performance and that she's the best Elle Woods I've ever seen.

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Thankfully those preludes no longer apply because at the 11th time of asking I finally found the courage to meet Faye at the New Theatre Oxford in July 2012.

I think you can tell a lot from a girls eyes and smile so I wasn't at all surprised to discover Faye was a truly beautiful person both inside and out.

However, I guess this is where the story really begins because I still go through the following stages / emotions every time I've arranged to meet up with Faye after a show.

Stage 1: You've arrived at the theme park and you can't wait to get to the rollercoaster because you're bursting with excitement at what's to come. However there is a niggling concern that your favourite ride will be closed for repairs.

This is the part when I race to the stage door because I'm worried Faye will have somehow managed to wash off all her ogre make-up, get changed, grab her things and leave the theatre before I've had time to exit the building. Irrational but true!

Stage 2: You finally get to the rollercoaster and join the back of the queue. Your pleased to see it's open for business but you start to feel a little anxious, knowing that you'll soon be flying round the track at break neck speed.

This is the part when the nerves really start to kick in. I'm stood by the stage door, jumping every time it opens, desperately trying to remember everything I want to say to Faye.

Stage 3: You near the front of the queue and have a clear view of the giant steel structure with it's little cars full of screaming people. Butterflies have taken over your stomach as you watch them loop the loop and go down a vertical drop.

This is the part when I've been waiting for nearly 30 minutes and most cast members have already left. I'm starting to panic that I must have somehow missed Faye. Did I look away at the wrong time? Did she leave by another exit? Should I send her a message to remind her I'm here?

Stage 4: You're now on the ride and you can't remember ever being so scared as you climb and climb and climb until the people below look like tiny ants. Then you're flying round the track. You can no longer concentrate on anything as the thrill of the ride has completely taken over.

This is the part where Faye comes out the stage door and my heart rate goes through the roof. Then she gives me a hug and the ride begins. Any chance of coherent thought is gone and I just have to enjoy the moment. However long we talk for it seems to go in a flash and afterwards my head is spinning as I struggle, and often fail to remember everything we've discussed.

Stage 5: You exit the rollercoaster on shaky legs and there is a kiosk selling pictures from the ride. I can't decide whether to buy one or not. I look a little silly but it's a great momento and proof I overcame my fears and rode the rollercoaster.

This is the part where I have to decide whether to ask Faye for a picture. I always want one because pictures with my idol are priceless to me and it's impossible for my mind to recall just how beautiful Faye is without proof. However, although Faye always looks stunning the same cannot be said for me, so I'm a little unsure. Thankfully my desire for the photo usually outweighs insecurities and I go home with another treasured momento.

Stage 6: You walk away from the ride on an all time high. You wonder what you were so scared of. If you had time you'd love to queue up and do it all again!

This is the part where me and Faye have said our goodbyes and I'm heading back to the car. I begin to wonder why I always get so nervous because Faye is actually one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet. As I drive off I'm already looking forward to the next time I'll have the opportunity to speak to this amazing lady.

So there you go. The Faye Brookes rollercoaster. If you're ever lucky enough to see Faye in a show why not take a ride. She's always happy to chat with fans at the stage door.

Can anyone else relate to my after show experience or is it just me?

Probably just me :-)

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Manchester's Young Fiona's!

Here is the latest Shrek the Musical UK Tour 'Princess Diary' video where Faye introduces the talented stars of the future who played young Fiona in Manchester: