Sheridan Smith – Fanny Brice
Darius Campbell – Nick Arnstein
Nigel Barber – Florenz Ziegfeld
Zoe Ann Brown – Mrs Meeker
Martin Callaghan – Mr Keeney
Rachel Izen – Mrs Brice
Venue: Theatre Royal, Newcastle
Date: Wednesday 17th May 2017
The UK Tour of Funny Girl is certainly an incredible venture considering it has come direct from the West End run with pretty much the same cast and Sheridan Smith headlining as Fanny Brice for most venues.
As I was sat in the Theatre I was wishing that I had re-watched the film again having only watched it for the first time last year. Therefore other than Rain on my Parade I didn’t fully know a lot of the songs. That was certainly a shame as I think I might just have enjoyed the stage show a lot more, even listening to the soundtrack would have been a good idea. Although it was a little bit late to come up with that idea!
Sheridan Smith is a big name star in the UK and very popular, that was something that certainly reflected in the ticket sales for Newcastle. We just about managed to get tickets after leaving it rather late after the tour was announced, therefore having to sit in the Gallery (which I have vowed never to do again). I wasn’t really sure what to expect with Smith as haven’t really followed her career all that closely. Following the controversy around some of her stint in the West End it was brilliant that she managed to get herself back on track and take the show on tour. I was very surprised by how good she was as Fanny Brice, owning the stage that she hardly leaves during the whole running time! A larger than life character who defied all of the odds to become the greatest star of all.
The production has a lot of impressive dance routines and that was something that looked good from the top of the Theatre. It really does still have that old musical charm and that is fully embraced from start to finish. My personal biggest problem with not knowing many of the songs is that they weren’t really that memorable and show stopping when watching.
Rachel Izen as Mrs Brice was truly outstanding, I seriously loved every single time she was on stage. An amazing performance, with incredible stage presence stealing the moments each and every time. A truly powerful singing voice to go along and make her performance even stronger was brilliant to watch.
Darius Campbell was a good match up to Smith in the role of Nick and had a certain sleazy charm to him! Another nice surprise in performance terms, I mean I know he has a good voice but the acting to go along with it very good to see. Going back to Smith I will hold my hands up and say I was very impressed with how she owned the stage and looked to love it as Fanny Brice. I guess we all feel like Brice more than any other character we see up on stage. Having the awkward moments and always being laughed at, isn’t it a good thing being able to make people laugh? Smith certainly gets the audience on side with that. I will admit that I do like that the ending is not the usual happiness we are used to seeing all the time on stage, it makes it feel so much more like real life.
Funny Girl is touring the UK until August. Check out if it’s coming to a Theatre near you here. If you’ve seen it, what did you think?