Theatre Review: Funny Girl at the Edinburgh Playhouse

Sheridan Smith is outstanding as Broadway star Fanny Brice
Sheridan Smith is outstanding as Broadway star Fanny Brice

If there is one theatre show that you have to go and see I would heartily recommend this one.

Funny Girl is one of the best productions I have seen on stage in a long time – largely due to the two actors in the leading roles: Sheridan Smith and Darius Campbell.

Sheridan Smith and Darius Campbell in the lead roles.  Credit: Johan Persson

Sheridan Smith and Darius Campbell in the lead roles. Credit: Johan Persson

Sheridan has been called the greatest theatre star of her generation and watching her in this role, it is easy to see why she has been given that title.

She was outstanding in her role as Fanny Brice, the film actress and comedienne who became a sensation on Broadway in the early 20th century.

Funny Girl tells Brice’s story - from her early theatre aspirations and becoming a star on stage, to her developing romance and then marriage to suave gentleman and gambler Nick Arnstein (superbly played by Darius).

For anyone who may not know, the film of the same name starred Barbra Streisand and arguably Funny Girl was her big break. She was fantastic in the original movie, but I have to say I thought Sheridan Smith outshone her on stage at the Edinburgh Playhouse last night.

She was mesmerizing – Sheridan is an absolutely first-class performer. She is a very talented comedienne and there were many laugh-out-loud moments, she is incredibly witty and her facial expressions are fantastic.

She was full of energy on stage and overall I thought she gave a very gritty and heart-wrenching performance, particularly towards the end when we see her giving her all as Brice struggles to save her marriage.

While Darius Campbell is her perfect match in this production. He was excellent as the very charming Nick Arnstein and his singing voice is incredible.

Many will remember the Scottish singer-songwriter when he first shot to fame with his cover version of ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’, but in this role he shows just how far he has come since those early days and the success he has had in a number of hit musicals has been well-deserved.

The two songs people will likely recognise in Funny Girl are ‘People’ and ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ and Sheridan sings her heart out, giving fantastic vocal performances on both numbers.

The supporting cast also has to be highlighted as they helped to make this show very memorable and entertaining.

The standing ovation at the end of Funny Girl last night said it all and Sheridan seemed to be genuinely moved by the audience’s reaction.

I have to say it was very well-deserved so if you haven’t got your tickets yet, I would grab them quickly and see this production before it ends this Saturday.

For tickets, visit: Funny Girl