MUSICAL REVIEW: Funny Girl ★★★★★
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
Friday 7th July 2017
Based on the real life accounts of one of the most prestigious Broadway performers of the time, Funny Girl follows the life of Ziegfeld's Follies star Fanny Brice, as portrayed by Sheridan Smith in this touring production, after rave reviews from the West End just prior. Set around New York, the tale is told through specifics accounts from Fanny's love affair with Nicky Arnstein (Darius Campell), so cuts between the prior and following months around World War I.
With a prestigious career in TV and Theatre, Sheridan Smith shows no sign in stopping showing how diverse her acting abilities can hold; from Two Pints of Lager to the more recent The C Word, she further proves here just how far away she can be from those characters and completely immerse herself in Brice's career throughout this production, and following this performance I would go as far as to say that I have never been more moved and amazed by a female performance like Smith's in a very long time - she completely owns the stage with her charm and comedic timing, as well as the charisma and love she shares with Campbell on stage as we see their relationship go from strength to strength throughout the run of the performance.
I don't often talk about the choreography in productions, but I think this really does deserve a mention due to the phenomenal moves given by the whole company, whether that is a solo routine from Smith, or one that is involving the whole company - this is further strengthened though due to the costumes and set which really add to the asthenic feel to the whole era that is being operated on stage. Scene changes are incredibly slick due to the direction from Michael Mayer, and the music from Jule Styne alongside lyrics from Bob Merrill are incredibly catchy and heartfelt with so much characterisation in every number, giving us a real feel to where the characters in the forefront are at between the scenes.
Overall, Funny Girl is an incredible piece of theatre that I would avidly watch again to once again become mesmerised by the whole production values on and off stage, and will be talking about this show for a very long time to come!