Shrek the Musical's Faye Brookes: 'Everyone has seen these characters grow from the very first film'

Faye Brookes is coming home for Christmas, starring as Princess Fiona in the hit musical ”Shrek” in Manchester.

Following starring roles in Legally Blonde the musical and Victoria Wood's That Day We Sang, Manchester born Faye Brookes is about to return home to play feisty Princess Fiona in the hit movie musical, Shrek – directed by one-time Lord Farquaad, Nigel Harman. Here, she tells us about the character, the show and what playing Elle Woods meant to her.

Faye Brookes as Princess Fiona in Shrek
Faye Brookes as Princess Fiona in Shrek
© Helen Maybanks

There have been four Shrek movies and now this stage musical. Why do you think it's so popular as a concept?

Everyone has seen these characters grow from the very first film, they've now fallen in love, they've had little Shrek babies and as an audience we've grown with them too. It's a feel good family film for all to enjoy and now that it has been transformed into a great fairytale musical live on stage. What's not to love?!!

What do you like about Fiona, as a character?

How feisty she is! Yes, she's a little complex but that's what makes her interesting. She shows all her colours.
You get what you're given with Fiona. She may be a princess but she's one tough cookie. She can handle pretty much anything that life throws at her.

What's your favourite song in the show?

" I know it's today", as there is something about Fiona's first song that reminds me why we love her so much as a character. We watch her grow from this little girl into the woman she is today and still she continues to have the faith in here happily ever after, whatever that may be. She's endearing and very courageous.

Nigel Harman is directing you. As he has been in the show, is there something intuitive about the way he directs, having been there?

He really knows the show so it's great when he makes you think back to each character's background. Why they are who they are? How they've got to where they are now? And that really helps us to keep the show fresh we can then remind ourselves of 'The Story' that we're telling.

You have had a great career so far and things seem to have gone into fourth gear since Legally Blonde. What are your memories of that show?

Ermmm how exhausting it was! HaHa!! I know how Shrek feels, let's put it that way! I have very fond memories of the show and I met the most amazing people whilst I was tour. I learned a lot about myself and the industry that we work in. If I was asked me to be Elle Woods again I wouldn't even blink!

Can you still eat gingerbread men, after co-starring with one?

Haha! Well our gingerbread man is a woman and she is my very best friend in the show! AND ginger is really good for your voice!

You're coming home for Christmas with this show. How does that feel?

So lucky to be surrounded by my family this year whilst I'm working. We were at the Opera house with Legally Blonde and I was fortunate enough to perform at The Royal Exchange last Christmas. So to be at the Palace Theatre for December 2014 is a real treat.

Where are your favourite Manchester Festive hang outs?

The Christmas markets are my favourite place to be around this time of year. The Alchemist is my favourite cocktail bar but Manchester is great for just about everything; shopping and eating good food, and going to see live shows. I'll be at home whilst I'm performing in Shrek so I can't wait!

Shrek is at the Palace Theatre, Manchester from 2 December until 11 January.