Funny Girl – A review

Regular readers will know that I’m a huge fan of the theatre and shows of the musical variety. It stems from a  musical childhood, years of singing lessons and performing on the stage at school. A time where I didn’t believe – I knew – I was going to play Eponine in Les Miserables when I grew up.

So when I heard the award-winning West End production of Funny Girl was coming to Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre with its star Sheridan Smith I had to get tickets.

The musical tells the tale of singer and comedian Fanny Brice and her rise to fame from Brooklyn to Broadway with Sheridan in the starring role.

Apart from being introduced to Funny Girl through Rachel’s love of it in the TV show Glee, I knew very little of the show, its plot or score.

But Funny Girl had me hooked from the opening number. Sheridan fizzed with wit, energy and sparkle as she stepped on stage, setting the comic tone with her offbeat dancing.    

She soon showed she was much more than a slapstick comedian though with her confident and skilled vocals. And she brought a real depth to the role, meaning you were laughing along one minute then feeling her vulnerability the next.

Although Smith was the standout star, this wasn’t a one-woman show. She was supported by a talented cast of singers, dancers and comics who held their own. The score was melodic, filled with catchy and memorable numbers.

The set was simple, but effective. The vanity table with its trail of lights where Fanny finds herself reflecting and preparing to step into her stage self; the theatre backdrop to which the actors at times perform; the poker table at which her mother and friends gossip and tussle over games of cards.

And the costumes added to the storytelling. We see Fanny transformed from a comic figure in oversized bloomers in scene one to a woman with tailored, shimmering dresses as her star ascends. 

But as her career flies, her husband’s wheeler-dealing leaves him out of pocket. We see their marriage crumble slowly as he relies on Fanny’s money and can’t bear to do so.

As he walks away, and a heartbroken Fanny summoned the energy to perform for her crowd, I was done. I started to tear up. 

And as Sheridan owned the closing bars of Rain on my Parade, I got to my feet like the rest of the audience. A well-deserved standing ovation for a show – and star – that shone.


Funny Girl finished its run at the Wales Millennium Centre on Saturday 8 July. 

Details of forthcoming tour dates and venues are here.

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A jolly holiday with Mary Poppins in Cardiff

Mary Poppins was my favourite film as a child without a doubt. From Julie Andrews’s pitch perfect voice to the mixture of animation and real life actors to the wonderful score and storyline, it was a film never far from our video player (I grew up in an era of VHS). 

So when I heard that Mary Poppins was coming to the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, I snapped up tickets as quickly as I could. 

We saw it last night and from the moment the curtain lifted, the show was a delight. Colourful sets, distinctive choreography and Zizi Strallen’s perfect Poppins – as well as that brilliant score – created a fun family show.

Strallen’s vocals were spot on and she was supported by a talented cast. Highlights for me included the chimney sweepers’ fancy footwork in Step in Time and the Jolly Holiday imagination scene, which transformed the stage into bright bursts of colour.


Although it featured the most well-loved narrative of the film, it also had its own identity with new characters and songs. I particularly liked the increased focus on Mrs Banks. The Votes for Women sash was gone and replaced with a more in depth look at the pressures she felt, including a strong addition to the score, Being Mr Banks

It was a joyous show made all the more joyful for having many children in the audience. The young girl sitting behind me was singing along word for word at times clearly transfixed by the performance.

There are some further bits that add to the magic and wonder but I’d rather not spoil it for those of you who aren’t in the know. But let’s just say it’s as magical onstage as it is on screen. Bravo!

Have you seen Mary Poppins on stage? I’d love to hear what you thought of it.

Mary Poppins is at the Wales Millennium Centre until Saturday 14 January 2017.