Prior to seeing this production, I had never seen Funny Girl before, (other than YouTube videos) I was apprehensive as to what I was in for and whether I would like it to be honest. Let’s just say I should have needn’t have worried!
Walking in to the Menier Chocolate Factory I was immediately struck by the informality of the theatre, with a bar in front I was surprised by the layout – having never been there before. I felt really welcome and relaxed, and the atmosphere of anticipation was really almost overwhelming. We collected our tickets and went into the space; it was so intimate and chilled, I was really excited!
As soon as the curtain opened, I realised I was possibly in for one of the best theatre experiences of my life so far. The production was so slick and controlled, it felt effortless. The whole ensemble worked really well together with phenomenal choreography (pointe tap shoes, I mean come on!). I was just in awe of the whole thing. I can’t even mention Sheridan Smith as Fanny Brice without reliving the experience again. The chemistry between the whole cast was amazing as they all seemed to bounce off each other. The energy was just insane.
Smith’s performance was just indescribable, but I’ll give it a go. Her comedic timing mixed with her wonderful portrayal of Fanny was just jaw-dropping. I laughed when she laughed, and I have to say, I cried when she cried. It really felt like the audience experienced everything that Fanny did, and Sheridan took the audience on that journey. Cheesiest review ever.
As cliché and as dramatic as it sounds, I can say with 100% honesty that I felt really honoured and humbled by the whole experience. Would definitely love to go again if I could find tickets for the Menier before it transfers to the Savoy Theatre, but with a sold-out run, I won’t hold my breath!
I will just add that I feel somewhat reluctant to see this show after its transfer to the West End. With such a powerful performance from the whole cast, I can’t help but feel that some of that magic might be lost in a larger space? Only time can tell, but definitely cannot recommend this show more.