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.
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.