Funny Girl – Just Incredible At The Birmingham Hippodrome

Last night I was in the audience at the Birmingham Hippodrome to watch ‘Funny Girl’. I left feeling privileged to have watched one of the great modern theatre stars playing a role that she has made her own. Sheridan Smith is sensational as Fanny Brice, and ‘Funny Girl’ is a masterpiece. I was mesmerised from start to finish.

‘Funny Girl’ is the story of the rise of 1920s star Fanny Brice, and of her love story with the gambler and con man Nicky Arnstein. Fanny is a theatre natural, a funny girl who can also bring the house down with the beauty of her voice. Told that she was not suitable for the chorus line because she wasn’t beautiful enough, Fanny is given her chance by her friend, choreographer Eddie Ryan, who was also in love with her. Fanny becomes a star and moves to the famous Ziegfeld Follies. She also meets the man who proves to be the love of her life, Nicky Arnstein (Darius Campbell), a suave smooth talker who charms and exasperates Fanny in equal turns. Fanny has it all, fame, fortune and love, but a series of events pull Nicky to the brink, and Fanny’s overpowering love starts to stifle Nicky, changing the man who fell in love with the ‘funny girl’.

Sheridan Smith was born to play Fanny Brice. She is a pocket dynamo who dominates the stage with her powerful and expressive voice and her force of personality. She brings Fanny Brice to life in such a way that you feel that you are actually watching the return of the 1920s star, so perfect is she in this role. Her performance of key songs such as ‘People’ and ‘Don’t rain on my parade’ are extraordinary, and her comic skills shine as the pregnant bride in the Ziegfeld wedding scene, and the hilarious ‘You are Woman, I am Man’. Watching Sheridan, you are in the presence of brilliance.

In the role of Nicky Arnstein, Darius Campbell is matinee star perfect, and has great chemistry with Smith. He is smooth and self assured in the role, but also gives the character real heart which allows you to feel real sympathy for Nicky as life continues to deal him bad hand after bad hand. His beautiful singing voice is used to full effect as he effortless puts heart and soul into the songs, and his final scene is Fanny is heartbreaking, containing so much love and tenderness.

In the supporting roles Rachel Izen is strong as mother Mrs Brice, whilst Joshua Lay gives a stunning performance as Eddie Ryan, a real song and dance man who was given a spontaneous round of applause with every amazing dance routine. The set was also excellent, whether it be railway platforms or backstage at the theatre.

Funny Girl is not just another musical, it is an event that is not to be missed. You’ll be talking about it for years.

 

Birmingham Hippodrome for One week only.

Wed 10 – Sat 13 May

Click here for information

 

Making Savings on your Style Books Wishlist

Sunday morning’s have a bit of a ritual attached to them. I try to get at least a bit of a lie-in, and then I curl up on the sofa with a cup of tea and one of my favourite style books, the sort of book where you can just pour over the pictures and not even have to stretch to reading if you just want to be lazy.

 

One of the places I always use when I’m sourcing fashion books is Amazon. It has an enormous selection of books, including out of print and hard to find, rare editions. Plus, as well as looking in the Amazon section, you can also pick up second hand editions through the sellers in the Amazon Marketplace. If you are in the US, you can make your purchases even cheaper by using Groupon, which has a whole section devoted to Amazon Promo codes. Currently it is listing 137 different codes which range from money off offers, to free shipping, along with more specific promotions.

My current to read list includes a fabulous book looking at 1920s style, a Chanel style book by the amazing fashion illustrator Megan Hess (I’m totally obsessed with her work) and ‘Inside Vogue’ by former Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, which is her account of the 100th year anniversary of British Vogue. (I watched the documentary so was interested to read her account.)

1920s Style: How to Get the Look of the Decade from £8.86 Click to visit Amazon

Coco Chanel: The Illustrated World of a Fashion Icon £12.08 Click to visit Amazon

Inside Vogue: My Diary Of Vogue’s 100th Year £11.89 Click to visit Amazon

As it is Sunday morning, the hubby has just made me a cup of tea and I’ve got a book to catch up with.

Happy Sunday all!

SAG Awards 2017 – Best Dressed

Awards season is now in full swing, last night saw the turn of the Screen Actors Guild, or SAG, awards. Sometimes called the more relaxed awards, this is the awards ceremony that can often see trouser suits, jumpsuits and tea length dresses, amongst the more formal gowns.  Last night’s red carpet showed pink to be a surprising front runner for hot colour trend, that old Hollywood was alive and kicking as Rachel Evan Wood continued her morphing into Marlene Dietrich, that playing Jackie Kennedy has totally influenced Natalie Portman’s maternity wardrobe, and that the bat sh*t crazy spirit of Bjork on the red carpet is still alive and kicking, as Nicole Kidman turned up as a parrot, a beautiful Gucci parrot. And I, for one, loved it.

Best dressed? I loved Bryce Dallas Howard totally owning those curves in a dress that apparently cost around $300, and Viola Davis who was a vision in white. Viola’s dress was everything, and then when she opened her tiny clutch bag and showed off her folded up flats, I think my girl crush hit around 100. I loved Emily Blunt in an Eastern inspired dress, although I still prefer her with darker locks if I’m honest, and I was so pleased to see Sofia Vergara do something so different in her prom style and sleek hair.

Then to the dresses that polarised opinions. I LOVED Michelle Dockery in her cool stripes, this dress wouldn’t work for the Oscars, but looked sleek and elegant, with a touch of fun, at the SAGs. I was also a little in love with Kerry Washington, but wished it was tailored better, with shorter sleeves and less skirt. Thandie Newton’s whimsical dress is the sort of thing I expect to see on Marion Cotillard, but it is just so exquisitely beautiful and unique that I was so pleased to see Thandie totally own it. And Nicole. Well, she was a stunning bird of paradise, one part parrot, 1 part Shirley Bassey, 2 parts Vegas showgirl. Haters gonna hate, but it is hard to hate Nicole having so much fun with fashion.

A special mention must go out to the Game of Thrones ladies. Maisie Williams is having a storming awards season so far, and the delicate pink and dark lip was another winner. Natalie Emmanuel opted for tea length art deco styling, and the glorious Gwedoline Christie was awe-inspiring in Vivienne Westwood. I walk past the lady once on Oxford Street and she is very tall, very beautiful and a total goddess, so I am bowing down to her.

What was your favourite look from the night?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock (8137126bh) Cara Buono The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 29 Jan 2017

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock (8137126bi) Michelle Dockery The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 29 Jan 2017

Michelle Dockery

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Actress Sophia Bush attends The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. 26592_009 (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TNT)

Sophia Bush

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Bryce Dallas Howard

Maisie Williams

Maisie Williams

 Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Actor Thandie Newton attends The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. 26592_009 (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TNT)

Thandie Newton

Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams

Emily Blunt

Emily Blunt

Selma Hayak

Selma Hayak

Viola Davis

Viola Davis

Kirsten Dunst

Kirsten Dunst

 

Naomie Harris

Naomie Harris

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington

Gwedoline Christie

Gwedoline Christie

Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Actress Nathalie Emmanuel attends The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. 26592_008 (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Nathalie Emmanuel

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock (8137126eg) Joe Manganiello and Sofia Vergara The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 29 Jan 2017

Sofia Vergara

Evan Rachel Wood

Evan Rachel Wood

Ellie Kemper

Ellie Kemper

Amy Adams

Amy Adams