Monday, 3 March 2014

Faye & Shrek Are Coming to Bristol !!

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

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

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

Dirty Den's son bringing Shrek the musical to Bristol

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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