Wednesday, 24 December 2014

My Christmas Came Early!

As the title says, my Christmas came early last Saturday when I went to the Palace Theatre in Manchester to see Faye in Shrek the Musical for the eighth time.

Not only was it a fantastic show in which Faye sparkled from start to finish but I also got to have a wonderful Christmas chat with her at the stage door and meet her lovely Mum who was waiting to give her a lift home.

Anyway, probably best I start at the beginning.

Sing a song 
Yes a travel song 
When you gotta go somewhere... 
road trip to see the wonderful

It's about 200 miles from my home in Bristol to Manchester and with the Christmas traffic I thought I should leave plenty of time. I set off at about 11am, stopped a couple of times on route for a bite to eat and eventually arrived at about 4:30pm. As expected the traffic was very heavy.

That gave me time to park up and enjoy a cup of tea and mince pie at Patisserie Valerie which was handily situated just 100 yards from the theatre.

Quick cuppa in Pat Vals before & my first visit to ! Mmm can I resist the mince pies? I think not!

I'd never been to the Palace Theatre before but I have to say I was really impressed. A beautiful building, particularly inside and I had a perfect view of the stage from my seat in Row D of the stalls.

All the cast were on top form, particularly Faye who stole the show with another stunning performance showcasing sensational acting, exceptional comic timing, step perfect dancing and the most incredible vocals you're ever likely to hear.

Her first appearance in the show comes very early when she welcomes the audience to 'Fiona the Musical' and to be honest her performance is so mesmerizing that isn't so far from the truth.

Unfortunately Gerard Carey wasn't on as Lord Farquaad but his stand in - Steffan Harri - did an excellent job in his absence. The entire cast are supremely talented and never fail to deliver a fantastic high energy performance. Saturday was no different and it was clear that the entire sell out audience at the Palace Theatre were loving every minute.

At the interval I often tweet about the show but on this occasion I was so completely blown away by Faye's performance that despite sitting with my phone in my hand for 20 minutes, no words seem to do it justice.

Act 2 is just superb right from the off with Faye delivering a stellar performance of 'Morning Person' and also includes the hilarious 'I think I Got You Beat'.

In fact the only thing wrong with Shrek the Musical is that it's so good the time flies by and it's over all too soon.

After the show I had to dash back to the car because I'd left Faye's present in the boot. When I returned to the stage door I saw who I thought was Faye's Mum, however I wasn't 100% sure and didn't like to ask. Luckily she recognised me and came over for a chat. 

It was so nice to hear how much she enjoys and appreciates the blog I run for her daughter and she also told me that Faye's Dad is always logging in to read the latest reviews when he's away working on the oil rigs.

She was so lovely and friendly it made my trip even more special and it's now easy to see how Faye has become such a wonderful person.

In her younger days Faye's Nan - who was 80 on Saturday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!) - also performed at the Palace theatre and she was meant to be there with Faye's Mum to watch her Grand Daughter perform. Unfortunately she wasn't very well and couldn't make it so I'd like to take this opportunity to wish her a speedy recovery and hope she gets to see the show before it leaves Manchester.

As it happened Faye's Mum didn't get to see the show either because there had been a mix up with the tickets; the theatre had arranged them for the matinee by mistake. 

Faye was obviously a little upset her Nan was feeling unwell and probably annoyed the theatre messed up her Mums tickets but you certainly wouldn't have known it from her performance. So professional. So talented.

I didn't have to wait too long for her to come out the stage door - probably because I was having a great time talking to her Mum - and we had a lovely chat about the show, Our Zoo, Christmas and Priscilla Presley.

I personally think it's a travesty that a show as good as Our Zoo wont be back for a second series and a real shame we won't see more of the beautiful Agnes Franklin on our TV screens next year but Faye was quite philosophical about it. She's been in the industry long enough to not take anything for granted and accept what will be, will be.

I'm sure her brilliant performance will at least lead to many more TV opportunities in the future.

Faye and her Shrek tour co stars recently met up with the cast of the Snow White panto which is taking place next door. That includes a certain Priscilla Presley. Faye was commenting on how good she looks for her age and I have to say, after seeing the pictures you'd never believe she was 70 next year.

Faye is very much looking forward to Christmas at home and being re-united with her Prince Charming Gareth Gates. However they both only get one day off so it's an extremely busy and tiring festive season for them both. Faye has NINE shows this week including two on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday! 

I hope Faye, Gareth and their families have a wonderful Christmas day full of festive cheer and that she likes the present I gave her which I purchased in Cornwall back in October. It wasn't what I was intending to get but I was browsing in a gift shop and this item had her name on it. I thought it must be fate and decided I had to buy it.

As we were talking, a very kind gentleman - who was also a big fan of Faye - offered to take the picture you can see at the top of this post. I hadn't adjusted the settings on my camera correctly but after a few photoshop adjustments it's actually come out really well and it's another picture I'll treasure.

I eventually had to say goodbye and make my way back to the car. Luckily I'd booked into the Travelodge in Oldham so I only had a 15 minute drive before I could go to sleep and dream about my amazing day. 

Before I did however, I finally came up with a tweet which came close to explaining just how special I think Faye Brookes is:

The best actress I've ever seen! The best voice I've ever heard! The nicest person I've ever met!

Thank you Faye, you made my Christmas!

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