What is the definition of a star? Well, in New York in the 1920’s the definition was based on looks. If you were a pretty girl you were more likely to make it in the business. That was until Fanny Brice came on the scene, and shattered that illusion. As she said “I’m the greatest star, I am by far, but no one knows it”. Determined that the long legs and beauty of the other girls would not stop her she used her wit and gift for comedy to become one of the biggest stars of the time.
Funny Girl, which is showing at the Bristol Hippodrome, is the story of her life. It’s the perfect tonic to lift your mood, and the antics of Fanny are guaranteed to make you laugh.
Fresh from the West End the show stars Sheridan Smith as Fanny Brice. She was perfect for the role, immediately making the audience fall in love with her. Her throw-away one liners had everyone laughing, along with the way she bumbled her way into the theatre. Smith is such a versatile actress, and has the ability to just throw herself into whatever role comes her way with obvious enjoyment. This shone through, making the audience love the character, and we were all rooting for her to succeed in a world where looks meant everything. She had the audience on their feet at the end of the show for her well deserved round of applause.
Fanny’s determination to break into show business stood her well, and she was taken on to perform with Florenz Ziegfeld, headlining his Ziegfeld Follies. During this time her stardom was raising, and she began her acquaintance with Nick Arnstein. Arnstein was a gambler, who moved in high circles, where money meant everything. Chris Peluso played him to perfection. He made me like him, despite the way he behaved.
Another important part of Fanny’s life was Eddie Ryan – played by Joshua Lay. He is hopelessly in love with Fanny, who only see’s him as a friend. Lay’s performance left me rooting for the ‘good guy’, keeping my fingers crossed that Fanny would eventually notice him and they would get their happily ever after.
If you are in need of a good laugh, while watching a group of seriously talented performers I would definitely recommend Funny Girl!