Funny Girl UK Tour (Bradford) Review
Hellooo! On Saturday 10th June, I took a trip over to Bradford to see the matinee performance of Funny Girl at the Alhambra Theatre! Earlier in the week, we found out that Sheridan Smith had had to pull out of performing the lead role of Fanny Brice as she had been diagnosed with mumps (wishing her a speedy recovery!) and so Natasha J Barnes (who she is currently sharing the role with) had stepped in to perform the role for all of the Bradford shows. Of course, a lot of people were disappointed as they were expecting Sheridan but from what I'd heard of Natasha, I was just as excited to see her but we'll come on to that later!
We were sat in seats C27 and C27 in the Upper Circle which were marked as 'restricted view' due to safety rails at the front of the upper circle. The safety rail did get in the way but for £24 seats (including student discount) it was still a pretty decent view. I would say that if you're looking at booking tickets at the Alhambra Theatre, try and avoid the front row of the Upper Circle. I don't know if the Circle is the same but I've sat in the front row of the Upper Circle in the past and you find yourself having to lean forward over the wall at the front of the Upper Circle which will leave you aching SO MUCH afterwards!
Moving on! Going into the show, I had a vague idea of the story line and I knew a few of the songs from watching Glee over the years but I was thoroughly impressed with the show! I liked that there weren't any huge pieces of set to move around and the story was told by using different smaller pieces of the set such as Fanny's desk and the poker desk on different sides of the stage. I also loved how the stage swapped from the audience seeing the audience view of the stage to a curtain dropping at the back and the stage changing so the audience saw the behind the scenes view of the stage. It was interesting how one minute you were watching the story unfold and the next, you were the audience and felt like part of the show. I liked how the lighting was used to switch the scene between live action to what the character was thinking and then back to the scene. I found that the sound felt a little distant but we were pretty high up so it was to be expected!
Onto the cast! Natasha J Barnes was phenomenal as Fanny Brice. She captured the charmingly quirky character perfectly and was fearless in front of a crowd expecting Sheridan Smith. Before the show started, a voice announced that Natasha would be stepping in and at the mention of her name, a couple of girls cheered near the front and by the end of the show, everyone was cheering! Her voice was absolutely incredible and her comedic timing was perfect! Darius Campbell played the role of Nick Arnstein which he seemed to be made for! He was smooth and enticing and his rich voice filled the room beautifully. Natasha and Darius worked amazingly well together and they played the ending perfectly and weren't phased by someone's phone going off despite signs everywhere telling you to turn your phone off...
One scene that stood out was where Fanny was supposed to be wearing a comedy mustache which Natasha seemed to be having problems with. As she was singing, one half of the mustache was hanging off and made her chuckle as it flapped around. Eventually, it fell off and she put it back on as a monobrow with the audience laughing along throughout the scene! During the curtain call, our section seemed to be the only ones not giving a standing ovation which they DEFINITELY deserved and as much as I wanted to, the self conscious part of me didn't want to be the only one but as the cast lined up for the final couple of bows, I was like 'you know what, stuff it' and stood up along with my friend followed by a load more people around us which made me VERY happy!
All in all, I loved Funny Girl and would highly recommend it! Natasha was unstoppable and her renditions of Don't Rain On My Parade and the Outro were incredible and her whole performance was full of emotion. Darius' voice blended with Natasha's flawlessly and I would more than happily go again!
Thanks for reading!