Reviewed by Linda Pickford
Last night (2 August 2017) an emotional Natasha J Barnes received a well-deserved standing ovation from the Plymouth audience for her performance as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl at the Theatre Royal. We were all astounded at the range and power of her voice. She also managed to bring pathos and laughter into her voice when required. Her comic movements and many facial expressions certainly increased my enjoyment of the evening. I loved her rendition of “His Love Makes Me Beautiful”.
In case you are unaware of the story, it is based loosely on the life of Fanny Brice, a young daughter of immigrant parents who settled in Brooklyn. She longed to dance and sing. Unfortunately, she was not born with a typically pretty face and so had to prove her worth as a comic actress/singer. She gained the attention of Florenz Ziegfeld, a Broadway showman and so began the life of “Funny Girl”. She became the star of the “Ziegfeld Follies” in 1910, later meeting and falling in love with Julius (Nicky) Arnstein. He was a gambler with a liking for the horses and the cards. Unfortunately, this led to his involvement with a dodgy Bond scheme resulting in a subsequent prison sentence.
I enjoyed the whole evening and feel mean to pull out separate artists but Darius Campbell as Nick Arnstein was a good foil to Natasha with his powerful voice and stage presence. My favourite, however, was Rachel Izen as Mrs Brice. Her past stage experience certainly showed.
You will no doubt recognise several of the songs. Such as, ”You are Woman, I am Man”, “Don’t Rain on my parade” and of course “People”.
A trip to see this very enjoyable show is a must, so do try to pop along to the Theatre Royal in Plymouth and see a brilliant performance by Natasha J Barnes. There are various car parking opportunities nearby and numerous eating establishments if you want to make a night of it.
Tickets cost from £17.50 to £48.5 (booking fees may apply).
Funny Girl is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth from 1-5 August 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.theatreroyal.com or call the box office on 01752 267222.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222