Funny Girl (My love for Sheridan Smith has grown).

Hello there! I’m a very lucky girl indeed, most universities have gone back after their Easter break. However, Warwick has a 5 week Easter break which is bloody wonderful. It means I get to spend great quality time with my family, get lots of work done and exhaust the fridge/freezer/cupboard supply of enough food that I can possibly eat. Delightful.

Now, if you remember, or you follow me on Snapchat (sophtommo, add me because there’s nothing more I love than approval from people who I don’t know that talk about me in a lovely manner), I had bought tickets in November 2015 to see a musical on the West End. Originally, I was going to go with one of my pals, however as she couldn’t make it due to a number of reasons, I went with my Mum and the day was wonderful. We were both extremely excited to be seeing Funny Girl at the Savoy Theatre.

Even before discussing the musical itself, I must stress how much the Savoy Theatre and Sheridan Smith hold a dear place in my heart. I went to see Legally Blonde in 2010 and Sheridan Smith was Elle Woods (my dream character). Not only was the show INSANE and the first time I met a celebrity, it was the first time that I went to London without parents with a group of friends. I was a 14 year old, plucky kid who just wanted to perform on stage for the rest of her life. It’s because of this day I gained confidence to go to London by myself lots of time in the future and explore. Forever a special place in my heart. As soon as I knew Funny Girl was getting a transfer from Menier Chocolate Factory, I HAD to buy a ticket.

SHERIDAN

Look at me, absolutely 100% natural me with a Hollister shirt because I thought I was cool. Selfie with Sheridan, probs one of my favourite photos ever.

The whole day was absolutely wonderful. Mum and I walked around Central London and just explored which is one of my favourite things to do. We found where my great-grandad died in Central London (Chinatown if you’re interested) and it was so mad to think that I have family history in one of my favourite postcodes in the world. Mum also treated me to a MAC lipstick which was just delightful and unexpected*.

*I got the shade ‘Brave’, but let’s be honest, it probably looks the same as another 10 in MAC. It looked wonderful and I can’t wait to try it. MAC lipsticks are slowly but surely becoming my weakness.

Anyway, on to the show and it was WONDERFUL AND MAGICAL AND GREAT and everything I wanted it to be and more. In terms of a ‘review’ of sorts, I’ll take each component that made the show and discuss it. I’ll try and leave out any spoilers for the show to the best of my ability. If you don’t know the story of Funny Girl, here is a plot from Wikipedia because it will be able to summarise better than I can. I’m not known for being concise in my chat.

‘The musical is set in and around New York City. Fanny Brice, awaiting the return of her husband, Nicky Arnstein, from prison reflects on their life together’.

 

Set/Lighting: Now I can’t critique much about the set or lighting or tech in any production as I do not have any skills, therefore I think that it is unfair to say if something is right and wrong. But, to the untrained eye, I thought it was AWESOME. I particularly loved the backdrop of the back of the stage as a lit theatre to give the impression that the Follies were performing to the ‘audience’ as well as us. It ensured that they didn’t go all Brechtian and break the fourth wall. Although, in ‘Rat A Tat Tat’, when Fanny Brice takes to the front of the stage, this confused my Mum slightly and I had to explain the premise of Funny Girl to her. Bless. I also LOVED the lighting rigged around the stage to give the impression of a mirror in lights. It just added touches of post WW1 glamour and the twenties and all things jazzy which I adore.

FG 2
A small example of the set. Look at the lights around the ‘mirror’.

Costumes: Once again, the costumes were WONDERFUL. Sheridan had so many costume changes executed with ease, even changing on stage at some points! They all fitted perfectly to the era, and I loved the green pointe shoes in ‘Rat a Tat Tat’ as well as Arnstein’s ruffled shirt and tails. Arnstein screamed Chuck Bass vibes and a character that you wish you could have for yourself and marry. The costumes screamed debonair when they needed to, poor slums when they needed to. Yet, they were all big, bold and bright which was perfect under the lights of the Savoy.

FG 3
The bright wonderful colours showing the Ensemble’s pretty dancing against Fanny’s not so perfectly-executed attempt. 

Show: Wow. Here are just some highlights.

  • Sheridan’s first entrance onto stage immediately captured the audience and made me fall in love with her all over again, just like I did when I was 14.
  • I really enjoyed the first number, ‘If A Girl Isn’t Pretty’ and I think the messages could be perfectly apt for today.
  • Sheridan singing I’m the Greatest Star and just her facial expressions.
  • The wedding dance in ‘His Love Makes me Beautiful’ was hilarious, and I particularly loved the obvious camaraderie between the ensemble and Sheridan.
  • The dancing in Henry Street. Up until this point, I had loved the dancing, however I thought it was quite simple for the West End. They’re living embodiment of Follies Girls, yet there wasn’t really a kick-line in sight? Henry Street showed each of the dancer’s skills, techniques and abilities and this number is a definite highlight of the show.
  • Arnstein watching Brice throughout, looking on adoringly (when will this happen to me?)
  • You are Woman, I am Man and I FINALLY understood the premise of this song. All the sexual innuendos were wonderful and made me chuckle).
  • Don’t Rain on my Parade. Obviously. BUT SHERIDAN MESSED UP THE WORD ORDER AND I GOT SAD.
  • Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat was great! However, I did notice that a hat fell off a dancer and she decided to kick it off in the wing. Yet, this ruined the ‘military precision’ of the number, and in my opinion, I think she would have looked neater if she had have worn the hat again as it ruined the perfect symmetry. Also, the precision in this number was not perfect either. Splayed hands or closed? Turned in or out? Just little things that even my Mum noticed, now she is a Dance Moms professional. I loved the number regardless, and Sheridan was hilarious.
  • The last 5 minutes of the show had me on the edge of my seat, and definitely made me stand up for Sheridan’s bow.
FG 1
Look at her go! Hey Mr. Arnstein, here she IS!  

I thought the show was fantastic, and I would recommend any of my friends to go and watch the show. To me, it was a masterclass in performing, characterisation and Sheridan Smith always makes me feel inspired to perform. If you would like to book tickets, look here: http://www.funnygirlthemusical.co.uk/

For a song for this blog post, it’s this. It’s an iconic number and my most played on iTunes. Don’t bring around a cloud to rain on my parade! 

Enjoy,

Sophie x

 

 

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