Palace Theatre, Manchester
Reviewed on Wednesday 16th August 2017 by Sebastian Singh
Photo Credit: Marc Brenner
Funny Girl follows Fanny Brice, a wannabe-Broadway star from her early years without success, through to her years as a leading lady of the Ziegfeld Follies due to her vocal and comedic talents. Alongside this, we see her love story with Nick Arnstein and the struggles that this relationship has on her own life.
Michael Mayer has directed a spellbinding production that is as glamourous as it is emotional. Alongside Lynne Page’s wonderfully detailed and energetic choreography and Michael Pavelka’s stripped back but very intimate staging, Funny Girl is a very special production that at times is so simple yet incredibly effective.
The lead role of Fanny Brice was performed by Sheridan Smith and she is without doubt the greatest star! A performer who can have you laughing one second and crying the next: she performs with detail, emotion and an openness that connects with an audience immediately. She is so natural on stage and her singing is beautiful to listen to, hitting every note perfectly. She has been acclaimed for her incredible roles in television but it is in a theatre, seeing the subtleties and nuances live, that takes her to another level. Sheridan Smith brings something exceptionally special to the stage that is mesmerising to witness.
Playing her leading man, Tom Partridge took the role of Nick Arnstein at this performance and he did a sterling job. He was suave, charming yet always had this darker edge to him that lingered around the stage. Also, Eddie played brilliantly by Joshua Lay had flair, energy and some killer dance moves.
Myra Sands (Mrs Strakosh), Zoe Ann Bown (Mrs Meeker) and Rachel Izen (Mrs Brice) brought humour and great entertainment to the stage as the voices of wisdom that guide Fanny through her life. And the whole ensemble was very talented: beautiful harmonies throughout and the choreography was slick and performed with great enthusiam.
Every single moment of this production is felt, heard and seen all the way to the back of the auditorium and the standing ovation at the end proved that.
Unfortunately, this is the closing week of the Funny Girl UK Tour and it will definitely be missed!