Friday, 20 February 2015

A Special Friday 13th in Canterbury!

As you'll probably know if you follow the blog, I made my 10th visit to the swamp to see Shrek the Musical UK Tour last Friday.

I'm actually still buzzing from my lovely chat with Faye and Gareth after the show but I suppose I should probably start at the beginning.

It's nearly 200 miles from my house near Bristol to Canterbury, so I set off in what I thought was plenty of time. However, awful weather and horrendous rush hour / afternoon traffic on the M25, meant a journey that should take about 4 hours, ended up being closer to 6.

Thankfully though that proved to be the extent of my bad luck on Friday 13th. The rest of the day really couldn't have gone any better.

Although my journey had taken rather longer than expected, I still arrived at the theatre with about 45 minutes to spare.

I've travelled all over England watching Faye perform but I love the Marlowe and it was great to be back. Even in the mist it looked particularly impressive glowing Shrek green.

After a quick cup of tea I took my seat in Row H of the stalls and waited for Showtime.

As you'll probably remember, the penultimate performance in Aberdeen was cancelled due to cast sickness and there were still a few absentees for last Fridays show. However all the stand-ins were superb and those who didn't know, would certainly not realise they were watching understudies; such is the talent of this incredible cast.

Faye herself has not been well and has also had to contend with a few injuries but that didn't stop her from giving another stellar performance as Princess Fiona.

It's a fantastic musical with a fabulous cast but Faye is unquestionably the star of the show. Her powerhouse vocals, coupled with her sensational comedic acting and immense stage presence make her one of the finest young actresses in the industry today.

If I haven't lost count, I've now seen Faye perform 32 times in 5 different shows over the past 4 years and every time I come away completely astounded by her talent.

There is nothing I can say about the show that hasn't already been said. It's 150 minutes of musical theatre magic. Non stop fun from start to finish for viewers of all ages. Take your kids along, take your grandparents along or just go along yourself, I guarantee you'll have an amazing time. I cannot recommend this spectacular show highly enough.

It was a horrible wet and windy night in Canterbury but luckily I'd prearranged to meet Faye in the foyer after the show, which enabled me to wait in comfort instead of standing in the rain outside the stage door.

A priceless picture of me with my favourite couple!

When she arrived she brought with her a little surprise. Gareth was in tow carrying their bags because although she had been commuting each day from their apartment in London, they'd decided to spend Valentine's weekend together in Canterbury.

He hadn't actually seen the show but had driven down that evening especially to be with his Princess.

The picture above may be the first since his visit to what he called a 'very dodgy barbers' last week but as you can see, he needn't have worried.

I'm sure there are probably a few Gareth fans reading this and I just want to say what a genuinely nice guy he is. I last met him at the Marlowe 2 years ago and it was great to have another opportunity to speak to Faye's lucky man.

He didn't come empty handed either, I'm sure I noticed a few Valentine's treats for his special lady with their luggage :)

I didn't get chance to ask him about his music but he has said in a recent interview that he hopes to have a new album out by the end of the year. Unfortunately I expect a duet with Faye maybe too much to hope for, but I can dream :)

He and Faye seem so well suited and obviously very much in love. A perfect match, a perfect couple and I really hope they have a lifetime of happiness together. I have a feeling they will :)

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Gareth for being so patient while I had a lovely chat with his girl.

Faye as always looked absolutely stunning. A remarkable transformation from the green ogre that left the stage just 30 minutes before.

There really is no beauty in the world that compares to Faye's smile. Breathtakingly beautiful, and I mean that quite literally. Another 10 minutes in her company and I'd have probably required CPR :)

We talked about what she'd been up to since I last saw her in Manchester, her holiday in Germany and the 3 weeks at Her Majesty's Theatre in Aberdeen.

I was able to tell her how much I enjoyed the show and that - as always - I was completely blown away by her amazing performance. Every time I see her as Fiona I notice something new and exciting. She is such an incredible and captivating actress.

Although not normally a superstitious person she said she might have to reconsider after a very taxing Friday 13th. I won't go into details but I've had a similar thing happen to me and it's extremely stressfull. It makes her performance that night even more remarkable.

She told me how she's delighted to be back at the Marlowe Theatre. It's not only a fantastic new state of the art venue in a wonderful historic city, but it's also where she and Gareth first met. Prior to him joining Faye in Legally Blonde, they were at the Marlowe doing promotional work for the Sleeping Beauty pantomime; so Canterbury obviously holds many happy memories for them both.

Before I let them head off to their hotel - which was just a stones throw from the theatre - I was able to give Faye a few chocolates and let her know to expect some flowers the following day.

She is such a lovely person who regularly favourites and / or retweets fans messages on twitter. She's always happy to chat at stage door and was even kind enough to give me her personal email so as I can contact her with any blog related queries. I feel lucky to be a fan of someone so special and I really can't thank her enough.

It means the world to me that Faye always takes the time to meet up when I go to see her in a show, and chatting with her and Gareth on Friday topped off the perfect day.

I'm already looking forward to my 11th Shrek adventure next month. It involves a 650 mile round trip to Newcastle but worth every second on the road to see Faye Perform.

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