Simply Breathtaking: Funny Girl at Wales Millennium Centre.

What can I say?! To
be able to see one of my favourite (possibly my number one) musicals
live on stage at Wales Millennium Centre is a dream come true! I
spent the whole day preparing (as you do!) for the show, singing
songs from the show as I washed up, did a bit of gardening and
crafting with the kids, even answering the door to the postman mid
‘Don’t Rain on my Parade!’- it’s the only way to prepare for such a
show, right?!

So, I’d prepared my
sing-along voice (in case it called for it on the night), then I’d
spent an hour deciding what to wear (it literally felt like a first
date) and then I caught the bus to meet Nanny Kim (my plus one, of
course!). We met by Cardiff Castle and headed for food, we decided to
go to Prezzo because they recently sent me a half-birthday treat of a
free bottle of prosecco, so it made sense to start the night in
style! Plus, it was a celebratory night as Nanny Kim has just landed
a job doing something she loves! Go Nanny Kim!

So after our
delicious meal we headed to Cardiff Bay and to the glorious Wales
Millennium Centre where the show would beginā€¦

The place was
absolutely packed (just how I like it!) and the atmosphere was a buzz
of excitement. I couldn’t wait to find our seats, so after a cheeky
drink in their Awen Bar (a very beautiful place to be before the
show!) we headed into the theatre. We had both discussed how we
needed to go into the show with open eyes and without comparing
Sheridan Smith to Barbra Streisand; this is always a mistake when
comparing film and theatre in my opinion, but it’s easy to do and I
admit I am guilty of this.

The lights went down
and the intro began; the orchestra performed with elegance and skill,
providing us with a medley of the songs to come. It was both
beautiful and emotional, and it pulled me straight into the
performance. 

The story follows
the rise of the famous Fanny Brice, from local star to Ziegfeld
Follies and beyond. We see her story unfold, from the theatre to her
personal life, we see her heart break and her fame soar. It’s a
bitter-sweet tale, with humour charm and fantastic music and lyrics.

Sheridan Smith hit
me like a lightning bolt as she appeared on stage as Fanny. There was
no way I could even compare her to Streisand, she gave a very
different performance, her own take on the famous comic and talented
Brice; she basically owned the role and I couldn’t get enough of her.

On stage Smith
looked so tiny, especially beside tall, handsome and equally talented
Darius Campbell who played Nick Arnstein. She was petite and perfect,
and it suited the character of Brice. Smith reminded me of one of my
favourite comedy performers, Melissa McCarthy; her facial expressions
and characteristics were very similar, so I warmed to her
immediately.

Smith was able to
move from comedy to pure magic as she sang her heart out on the
stage. She completely won my heart as she performed People, and as
for her rendition of Don’t Rain On My Parade-I had goosebumps! Nanny
Kim adored her performance of People and she later admitted she cried
a few times during the show, I was close to tears many times during
the performance, and I cried tears of laughter during the seduction
scene between Smith and Campbell; they had perfect chemistry and
perfect timing when it came to the comic scenes.

I thought the
costumes were outstanding, although I couldn’t help but want
variations of wedding dresses during His Love Makes Me Beautiful, but
I think that’s because of the lengthy scene in the movie, which is
wedding dress heaven (if you like dresses!). The costumes were rich
and layered, flowing and bright, and I felt thrown into an era and
time I’ve never known, which was simply magnificent. I adored the use
of costume during the scene between Nick and Fanny as they travel
around the world for work, it was fast-paced and clever, and it
reminded me of old movies (always a good thing!). 

I adored how the
performance felt when the chorus line were on stage, it felt as
though I was at a real Ziegfeld performance; they were perfect as
they performed their dance routines and their harmonies were simply
divine. It certainly felt that the whole cast gave 110%, which always
makes me fall more in love with a performance.

When it comes to
talent, I want to list the whole cast (because they were all
fantastic) but I can’t, so I’ll touch on a few special moments and
people that made the performance really stand out. Firstly, Joshua
Lay who performed as Eddie Ryan, was a breath of fresh air as he
performed upon the stage, from cartwheels to tap dancing, this man
has an abundance of talent. I also loved the snippets of Mrs Brice
(Rachel Izen) and her friends playing cards, having a bit of banter
and singing with such perfection. Their scenes helped the performance
flow smoothly from scene to scene and they were very funny!

I loved Martin
Callaghan’s (Mr Keeney) energy upon the stage, he totally rocked it
and made me want to get up and dance! When it comes to the main
characters, both Smith and Campbell captivated my heart. I used to
love Darius way back when he became famous and I had no idea he was
in the show, so you can imagine my excitement! He was absolutely
fantastic and I actually sympathised with him and his situation with
Fanny and his lack of finance/gambling problems. He was gentle and
kind, even with his faults, and his voice was so beautiful, I
couldn’t get enough of him and his version of You Are Woman, I Am Man
was stunning.

Sheridan Smith was
everything we could have wished for and more. You can tell she adores
performing as Fanny, and her tears at the standing ovation made me
love her more (if that’s possibleā€¦). She has an abundance of talent
and charm, she’s hilarious and devastatingly sad at times during the
performance, and as she sings she makes you catch your breath, taken
aback by such a voice! I have to say I think she was absolutely
faultless and I was sad when the show came to an end.

I could feel the
love in the room for Smith during the moment we all stood up to give
thanks to the performers. I get the feeling Smith hasn’t yet realised
how wonderful she actually is, and how much she is loved by one and
all…

But that only makes
me love her more.

Have you seen the
show yet? What did you think?

Disclosure: I
received tickets in exchange for review. All opinions are 100% honest
and my own.
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1 Comment

  1. NannyKim
    6th July 2017 / 1:57 pm

    It was absolutely heartwarming and heartbreaking….wonderful, as is your review especially the last paragraph …I cried again!! xxxxxx

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