Hannah Richardson reviews Funny Girl, at Milton Keynes Theatre
Sheridan Smith is quite amazing.
She has the most expressive face I have ever seen
Having recently seen her impressive performance as Julie Bushby, an activist mum on a down-at-heel Yorkshire estate, in the BBC drama The Moorside, I couldn’t imagine her in a comic role – let alone one made famous by Barbra Streisand.
But she made the role of Fanny Brice her own.
With expression after expression flitting across that ever-mobile face, she shared every emotion, from trepidation, to exhilaration to grief.
And she can sing, seemingly effortlessly owning the stage in all the big showstopping numbers.
There was clearly a big Sheridan Smith fan base among the sell-out audience on Tuesday night – not surprisingly, as she has already had a long and successful screen and stage career.
And those of us who didn’t arrive as fans, almost certainly left as such.
But while Sheridan Smith excelled in the starring role, it’s not a one-woman show, and she was ably supported by the rest of the cast, most notably Chris Peluso as Nick Arnstein, Joshua Lay as Eddie Ryan and Rachel Izen as Mrs Brice, not to mention the energetic ensemble.
For once, the standing ovation at the end of the show was more than deserved.
Funny Girl is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday night, but the show is sold out.
For the chance of last-minute returns, call the box office on 0844 871 7652 or see www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes