Hello Gorgeous! – Funny Girl hits all the right notes

IMG_2263Funny Girl

Wales Millennium centre, Cardiff Bay

Starring:
Director – Michael Mayer
Music – Jule Styne

Sheridan Smith – Fanny Brice
Darius Campbell- Nick Arnstein
Joshua Lay – Eddie
Rachel Izen – Mrs Brice
Martin Callaghan – Mr Keeny
Jennifer Harding
– Emma Nadler

Funny Girl opened to phenomenal requires in London’s Savoy theatre last year, and it soon became a must-see for theatre lovers.

And having seen it only last night in Cardiffs grand Millennium centre, it’s easy to see why.

Funny Girl is a heartbreaking tale of the fiery Fanny Brice, who lives at home in Brooklyn with her mother, convinced she will be ‘the greatest star!’

But she is often reminded, that ‘only pretty girls’ can be stars and she should stick to what she does best – being funny.

And boy, does she!

With her quick wit, two left feet and many quips (my favourite being ‘Paté? I drink it all day) Fanny rises to the top and even bags herself the handsome and charming, gambler Nick Arnstein.
But alas, this is a love story, and how many love stories in theatre have a happy ending? *sigh*

Sheridan Smith who took the starring role, proved she is more than just a great actress who can carry a note.

It’s not easy to try and step into the shoes of the feisty Fanny Brice, especially as we all remember the iconic singer Barbara Streisand taking on the role in 1968

The supporting cast were just as good and as they broke into song every minute or so, how they kept their energy and enthusiasm all night was commendable.

Joshua Lay, who played the lovable but hapless Eddie, is a talented dancer and the two older women along with Fanny’s mother, played the nosy but caring neighbours who revelled in Fanny’s stardom.

Some cast members’ efforts at the Brooklyn/New York accent were better than others.. But hearing the famous songs such as ‘People’ and ‘Funny Girl’ sing with such passion, made more than up for the dodgy accents.

And ‘Dont rain on my parade!’, the one everyone was waiting for, was just as dynamic as you imagine it to be.

You will laugh and cry at this story, and you’re sure to be singing the songs for hours if not days after l.

Funny Girl is showing in Cardiff until July 8 and before travelling overseas to Dublin on July 11.

 

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Viva Forever

So, I was lost in Panama. Sounds frightening, right? It was. And this isn’t me being dramatic, I was genuinely afraid.

Let me start from the beginning: I was travelling around central America, after flying more than 5,000 miles to escape the smog-filled bubble that is London.
I was used to travelling alone and honestly enjoyed the freedom. Don’t get me wrong, I am a sociable person, but to have the ability to go where you want, whenever you want, without having someone by your side, is all I have wanted in life.

After two weeks of sunbathing (burning) on the beach and drinking too much (alcohol) in Costa Rica, it was time to cross the border into Panama.
A few people had recommended a remote hostel, aptly named ‘Lost and Found’, that was hidden in the western hills.

It’s a steep stretch to reach the hostel, but the view from the top is so worth the mid-morning hike in the sweltering sun. I dared to lie in the swinging hammocks, overlooking the stunning mountains. It was breathtaking.

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A while later, I started to feel peckish and headed out on my own in search for food. ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ – *sighs* Aaaah, I’m glad I can now look back and laugh at that thought now.

The nearest store was a 10-minute walk away once you reach the bottom of the hill, and after a 15 minute walk, it was clear, that I walked in the wrong direction. Or the shop had moved. Either or, I guessed.

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So, I had no idea where I was, I was tired, my feet were aching and I had no water or food on me. It was only late in the afternoon but I was scared. More than scared. Where was I?

I was out of my depth, with no idea what to do, I slumped down not the ground, and all the confidence I had previously felt about ‘travelling alone’ was starting to fade away. After what seemed like an eternity, I saw a glimmer of hope driving towards me in a white van. I held out my thumb, and closed my eyes in fear it wouldn’t stop, or worse still, in fear it would stop.

A short man with the biggest smile on his face, stepped out of the van, took one look at me and we stood there in silence.

He gestured me into the van, and so I took a chance. I breathed a sigh of relief as I sat in the passengers seat, with the cool breeze of the air conditioning and smiling family pictures posted all around. I told him where I wanted to go, and he just handed me bottle of cold water and turned the engine on.

I was starting to feel better when I heard the Spice Girls singing on the radio. Viva forever? Oh yes. I was going to be ok.