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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 begin…

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 possible…). 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.

1 comment

  1. NannyKim7/06/2017

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


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