Funny Girl Review

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Funny Girl Review

Funny Girl Cast

Sheridan Smith (Fanny Brice), Darius Campbell (Nick Arnstein), Joel Montague (Eddie Ryan), Marilyn Cutts (Mrs Brice), Gay Soper (Mrs Strakosh), Valda Aviks (Mrs Meeker). More here.

Funny Girl Synopsis

Funny Girl is the romantic story of a comedic, misfit, star of the stage.

Funny Girl

I think it’s important to note that this is the first incarnation of Funny Girl I’ve ever seen. The plot is completely new to me, I took to my seat with no preconceptions.

This is obviously a very old fashioned musical and as such was never going to strongly appeal to me. The plot is very linear; but the book, which has been adapted by Harvey Fierstein, is humorous and well paced. I would guess that no-one seeing this production because they love the film would be disappointed with this side of things.

Of course, Funny Girl includes some well known musical numbers, ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’ and ‘People’ being two of the most prominent.  The music fits with the era. I found it dated and a little drab at times, but many, many, people disagree.

This Production of Funny Girl

Sheridan Smith almost lives up to the hype. She has an incredible ability to effortlessly flip between lovable wit (the Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat number that sees her adorn the persona of a male German sergeant is a particular highlight) and heartbreaking tear filled numbers. However, I always feel like she leaves just a tiny bit of herself in every performance.

My main gripe with the production is the casting of Darius Campbell as, the male lead, Nick Arnstein. I found his acting wooden to the point that it was difficult to distinguish between moments of romance and crumbling catastrophe due to the concrete pretentious smile that permanently adorned his face.  Because of this, I didn’t feel much of a connection between Nick and Fanny, which kind of sucks, because that is the plot! I found myself wanting her to ditch him from pretty early on!

The rest of the cast is truly wonderful. The small ensemble makes great use of the Menier’s very tiny stage to perform some innovative choreography with great style. The staging was very slick in general. A perfectly atmospheric set is used alongside travelators and mirrors to make economical use of the space available. I’m  very intrigued as to how the production will be translated onto the much bigger stage at the Savoy.

My Verdict on Funny Girl

I liked it but I didn’t love it. I deducted a point from what would have been a four-star production because of my dislike of the piece itself. But that’s simply my taste. If you already love Funny Girl then this production is well worth seeing. The almost spontaneous ovation at curtain call speaks for itself. I give Funny Girl a rating of 3/5.

You can now experience Sheridan Smith’s performance via the Revival Cast Recording*!

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