Tuesday, 13 June 2017

“Funny Girl”
Nottingham Theatre Royal
It’s been a long and anticipated wait for this touring production to come to Nottingham but it was well worth it. The film, which starred Barbra Streisand was made 50 years ago with the original stage version opening on Broadway on 26 March 1964.
The musical is semi-biographical, based on the life and career of Broadway star, film actress and Comedienne Fanny Brice. Her rise from her own dream world of being a star to being "The Greatest Star" who allows no one to rain on her parade!
Natasha J Barnes takes on the role of Fanny Brice in Nottingham and other venues where Sheridan Smith shares the part during the tour. Fanny says “That’s where I live, on stage” and how true is that one sentence because Natasha comes alive.
There were a couple of moments where a giggly Natasha had to deal with a rogue false moustache and something unexpected in Darius's pants, which made her giggle.
The standing ovation, richly earned, for Natasha also looked to choke her up, in complete contrast to her giggles earlier.
The physicality of the comedy is handled really well by Natasha as are the vocals, and there are some belting songs for Natasha to tackle. From the heart-felt “People” to the rip- roaring staccato of “Don’t Rain On My Parade”
Darius Campbell (nee Danesh) plays Nick Arnstein, the object of Brice’s affections. It’s good that people are now recognising Darius as a performer of quality, something that many Pop Idol TV reality show singers have had trouble shaking off. Darius is now a seasoned theatre performer, singer, film producer, author and TV actor, oozing charisma as he sings and dances his way into Fanny's, and the Nottingham audience's hearts.
The supporting cast were excellent and fun to watch, especially Nova Skipp as Mrs Brice, Myra Sands as Mrs Strakosh and Zoe Ann Bown as Mrs Meeker, the poker playing trio. Joshua Lay (Eddie), Jennifer Harding (Emma), Lloyd Davies (John), Martin Callaghan (Mr Keeney) and Nigel Barber (Ziegfield) all wonderful character actors. The rest of the ensemble perfectly cast.
It goes without saying that the choreography would be amazing and choreographer Lynn Page didn't disappoint with some wonderful tap, ballet and ballroom sequences.
Loved the costumes. All that class with the men in tuxes and bow ties and some incredibly glamorous costumes for all the ladies.
Marvellously lush and layered musical arrangements under the musical direction of Ben Van Tenen in charge of a crisp and tight orchestra.

A colourful and classy set design by Michael Pavelka.

The whole production, directed by Michael Mayer just sizzled and sparkled with class and cheekiness.
“Funny Girl” is laughing all the way to the bank at Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 17 June 2017 because this show is a big success.

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