FUNNY GIRL: Jule Styne, Bob Merrill, Isobel Lennart
Touring, Cast Changes and other information:
(Tours into August 2017)
Revie: Rod Dungate, Birmingham Hippodrome, 12 May 2017
A 5 Star Central Performance
There is something marvellous about being with 2000 people cheering and applauding numbers in a show. To be part of such a community uplifts you; you feel all the better for it. Sheridan Smith, then, as Fanny is a bringer of great joy.
Many of us will associate the ’60s musical FUNNY GIRL with the performance of Barbara Streisand, possibly her break through performance. In fact, she was slightly odd casting – not short, not ‘funny’ – but she had, of course, great star quality. XXX is better casting, she is shortsh not entirely statuesque, and she is, to her finger-tips and toe-tips, funny.
It is hard to imagine more personality firing from the stage that streams out from Smith. It’s a terrific performance, she embodies the ‘funny’ totally, never playing lines as gags, except when the character plays them as gags. And this, the character frequently does, it is her defence mechanism against her vulnerability. And vulnerable she is, falling for the ne’er do well, Nick, who uses (and loses) her money and eventually ends up in prison She, of course, loves him to the bitter end. Smith has the great skill to enable us to believe in the melodrama.
She is an excellent singer, too; switching, effortlessly it would seem, from comedy to the lyrical, or, as in THE MUSIC I WAS BORN TO DANCE TO, and the FINALE from deep introspection to big show-stopper.
The show is packed full of excellent performances, none of them eclipsing Smith but each of them adding something special. Darius Campbell as the waster Nick, who brings a kind of nobility to his final moments. Joshua Lay, as Eddie, hopelessly in love with Fanny, but whom she wants just as a friend. And Rachel Izen as Fanny’s mother
It’s a great treat.