15th December 2019
Review by Shaun Tossell
“… Hello, gorgeous…”
The classic musical Funny Girl comes to Paris’ beautiful Théâtre Marigny, in an English-language production directed by Olivier Award-winning Stephen Mear. This is his second time directing for this theatre, following on from his critically acclaimed production of Guys & Dolls.
Funny Girl is based on the true story of comedian Fanny Brice, her rise to fame with the Ziegfeld Follies and her turbulent relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nicky Arnstein.
The musical is also notable for turning Barbra Streisand into a superstar, with her originating the role of Fanny Brice on stage and screen, for which she won the 1968 Best Actress Oscar.
This production has the multi-talented Christina Bianco as its Fanny Brice. She’s a pint-sized star with a big voice, effortlessly bringing warmth, humour and vulnerability to the role. Also her beautiful voice absolutely soars during the iconic numbers “People” and “Don’t Rain On My Parade”.
Ashley Day impresses with his performance as Nicky Arnstein, charming and debonair but also adding some raw emotion to the heavier scenes with Bianco.
Other standouts are Rachel Stanley as Mrs Brice and Shirley Jameson as Mrs Strakosh, who have a wonderful repartee with each other. Also Matthew Jeans as the sweet best friend Eddie Ryan.
The sumptuous production design captures the glamour of the era well, from the costumes, grand scenery and lavish set pieces.
The orchestra wonderfully perform Bob Merrill and Jule Styne’s unforgettable score, with it sounding gorgeous.
This production has an incredible ensemble who effortlessly bring director Stephen Mears and associate choreographer Joanna Goodwin’s gorgeous choreography to life.
The tap number “Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat” is an absolute joy to behold, with the tap-dancing being incredibly sharp and polished, conjuring the best of what a classic Hollywood musical could offer.
This sparkling production is a triumph, with all creatives firing on all cylinders and a star-making turn from Christina Bianco, go see Funny Girl NOW!
Funny Girl has recently extended its run at the Théâtre Marigny and is now playing until 7th March 2020.
Tickets & more info – https://www.theatremarigny.fr/spectacle/funny-girl-the-broadway-musical/
Photo credit – Julien Benhamou