Sometimes, well quite often actually, the touring version of a major West End show that graces our beautiful regional stages lacks a certain something when compared to the original. A smaller chorus, a bit less finesse, loss of a star due to the required time commitment that a tour inevitably involves, limitations of touring sets .... whatever it is, a bit of the magic fails to travel well.
Funny Girl, however, has nothing raining on its parade ... this is a top notch show full of style, fun, terrific singing and true professionalism. It felt more like a major first night performance than anything and a lot of that was down to Sheridan Smith's magnetic and powerful portrayal. But not all of it. Whilst the show, as a vehicle, revolves around the leading lady, the remainder of the cast were not pushed into the shadows, nor did they lack energy, sparkle or commitment.
Sheridan's Fanny Brice is frankly stunning. Funny, poignant, every move and gesture a part of the character and with a lovely singing voice - the finale, with just her on stage, was moving, memorable and magic. Rachel Izen as Fanny's mother was superb, watchable, entertaining and credible and Chris Peluso's Nick was very well presented - he too has a lovely voice. The duet "Who Taught Her Everything She Knows?" between Eddie (delightfully played by Joshua Lay) and Fanny's Mother was fabulous and the Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat number was truly bizarre and might well haunt me for quite a while! Brilliant.
Thank you cast, all of you, and company .... a spectacular evening ....
Standing ovation? You betcha!