Funny Girl

Funny Girl

Liverpool Empire

by

Peter Grant

Sheridan Smith is one of this country’s most versatile stars.

She loves challenges on stage and screen and always comes up smelling of roses. She is already a much-loved veteran performer and has the awards and nominations to prove it.

When I first met her on the set of the sit-com Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps I could tell here was a modest, likeable actress with her feet on the ground.

I predicted then – as I do now – it won’t be long before she is an Oscar winner should she decide to move to Hollywood.

She has dominated the small screen with critically-acclaimed roles such as The C Word, Mrs Biggs and the biopic drama on Cilla Black.

On stage she is a formidable singer and dancer. You can’t take your eyes off her.

Funny Girl is the ideal vehicle for her talents.

The movie made Barbara Streisand a global star 50 years ago. It’s a hard act to follow but Sheridan has the confidence,  creative credentials and the ability to make her own mark.

Sheridan is already a superstar and has the Midas touch on stage and screen.

She can certainly belt out up-tempo and slower numbers with equal measure.

Funny Girl is on a UK tour, and is a fun- filled, two-hour 45 minute show (including interval) with a wonderful song list.

If A Girl Isn’t Pretty, I’m the Greatest Star, People and Don’t Rain on My Parade are just a few of the classic compositions beautifully-relayed.

This West End smash tells the tale of Fanny Brice who was one of the highest-paid showbiz names in the 20s.

She had great visual ideas and saw them through to fruition.

It begins in a New York theatre in 1927 and through flashbacks and ”elsewhere in her memory”  we are told her love story.

Along the way this confident Brookyln girl falls in love with a top-hatted smoothie.

A gambler who won her heart and lost his own fortune by the dubious cards he dealt.

He is played by American Chris Peluso who disliked by her family adds some dranatuc tension – highlighted in the powerful Temporary Arrangement.

Nick Arnstein was the love of her life. Sadly the couple never really got over his imprisonment for financial fraud.

Director Michael Mayer’s production keeps the pace running along nicely.

It is a show for all the family – a sparkling stage version with comedy in all the right places.

The songs from Jule Styne and Bob Merrill stand the test of time. There’s thoughtful lyrics and foot-tapping melodies.

Michael Pavela’s colourful sets puts the star on show from her dressing room with its lightbulb mirrors to railway stations, hotel room and the grand touring theatres.

Sheridan Smith simply oozes talent. She looks as though she is relishing every minute. Her smile beams from stage to audience – which is exactly what the real Fanny Brice achieved in her remarkable career.

Fanny had the common touch. And Sheridan in make up and superb costumes looks every inch the part actually resembling the real Ms Bruce.

Like a fenale Tommy Steele, Sheridan is a song and dance star who also happens to be one of the country’s greatest actresses.

Put all three element and you see why this 35-year-old, Lincolnshure lass is box office magic.

This is a superb production with a vibrant 20 strong cast.

Lynne Page’s choreography is effervescent and brings to life the famed, zestful  Ziegfeld Follies.

Fanny’s leading lady status in the company was part if its international succres. The jolly militraryroutine Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat captues her diversity.

Sheridan can put her hand to any project  and her comic timing is second-to-none. The 11 strong orchestra, led by Ben Van Tienen, deserve much praise for the show’s success.

The audience couldn’t wait to get on its collective feet to applaud the superb company after the gutsy finale number with the star-struck Fanny Brice who,like our very own Sheridan, personify all that is great about musical entertainment.

Fabulous

(5 / 5)

Until Saturday

Box office: 0844 871 3017

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