REVIEW: Funny Girl @ The Palace, Manchester

optimized-funny-girl-sheridan-smith-fanny-brice-photo-credit-johan-perssonIs there anything Sheridan Smith can’t do? Gritty drama, sit-com, and now a faultless performance in the hit Broadway musical, Funny Girl.

Smith excels as Fanny Brice, the role made famous by diva Barbara Streisand in the film which tells the true story of a gawky girl stumbling her way into the limelight rising to stardom as part of the hugely popular Ziegfeld Follies.

This bitter-sweet tale weaves together the glitz of Brice’s fabulous career and her rocky relationship with husband Nicky Arnstein. Smith delivers a masterclass in musical theatre, with outstanding performance of those classic tunes,  which include People and Don’t Rain On My Parade.

And Smith provides the perfect package with pathos in her acting, tears of laughter in her comedy and superb dance routines. The standard is set in an early routine when  Brice is out of step with her fellow dancers. It’s the dancing equivalent of Les Dawson’s piano routine, which takes real skill to pull off. Choreographer, Lynne Page must share the credit for this.

Chris Peluso grew into the role of Arnstein, with a touching portrayal of Brice’s troubled husband, and some outstanding vocals.

Considerable credit must also be given to Rachel Izen who stands out in the role of Brice’s mother.

But the biggest plaudits have to go to Smith for a performance which justifiably ended in the Palace audience rising to their feet.

Runs till Saturday Feb 25

Dave Toomer



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