Funny Girl was an 'exhilarating show'
By Ron Ellis
Little Theatre, Southport
FUNNY Girl is all the rage at the moment, with Sheridan Smith challenging Barbra Streisand as the definitive Fanny Brice, and it was a full house on the opening night of this show where Janine Burrows was outstanding as the actress who breaks every rule in the book yet still jokes and charms her way to the top of the tree.
The tall and debonair Dom Tolley was ideal for the part of gambler, Nick Arnstein, who wins Fanny’s heart with his false promises of wealth and she agrees to marry him.
Marie Orr, Denise Masters and Nicky Williams made a glorious trio of Jewish matrons, Nicky playing Fanny’s mother who expressed her doubts about her daughter’s chosen husband.
Harry Gascoigne played Eddie Ryan, the young dancer she met while in vaudeville at Kenney’s and who also had warned her about Arnstein.
Stephen Hughes-Alty looked the archetypal showbiz entrepreneur as Zeigfeld, who took on Fanny for his Follies shows after she had been fired by club owner Keeney (Peter Forshaw) for ‘tomfoolery’ during her act.
Essentially, this is a song and dance show and from the moment Chris Rimmer’s excellent 12-piece band struck their first note of the overture, the theatre burst into life and the excitement never let up for a minute.
If a girl isn’t pretty opened the songbook and the cast performed the familiar numbers with sheer professionalism, Janine’s People and Don’t rain on my parade being the highlights.
Choreographed by Toni Spofforth, the dancing was invigorating and the costumes colourful whilst the energy from the cast sustained the pace of the show. A triumph for Southport Spotlight.
As a musical, perhaps Funny Girl doesn’t allow as much time as it might for going into more detail about the story, but as a soundtrack it is up there with the high-flyers
Altogether, a triumph for director, Rob McGregor, who also helped with the choreography.
Southport Spotlights’ next production is The Wedding Singer on June 26- 29 at the Little Theatre but this will be a hard act to follow.
Star Rating 8 out of 10. An exhilarating show.