REVIEW: Funny Girl at Theatre Royal Norwich

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This has been a much anticipated show, and one with its own back story.

Leading lady Sheridan Smith, in that iconic Barbra Streisand role, became ‘indisposed’ during the West End run and the understudy, Natasha J Barnes, stepped up and, in true showbiz fashion, rather stole the show.

Barnes comes to us as a suitably quirky Fanny Brice, the plump wannabe who makes people laugh and ends up a famed Ziegfeld girl.

It is based on a true story, set in the 1910s and 20s, and offers that rare combination of fabulous songs and a decent storyline.

As Fanny’s career takes off, she hooks up with the gorgeous professional gambler Nick Arnstein who should have been played by the equally delectable Darius Campbell. But he’s hurt his back so we got another understudy, Norfolk’s own Tom Partridge, who was equally impressive in his lead role.

You know the marriage is probably going to fail but it’s how Fanny copes that is empowering for us girls!

This is a gutsy show which wears its heart on its sleeve There are no gimmicks and there’s nowhere for anyone to hide. Rather look out for the superlative singing of superlative songs such as Don’t Rain On My Parade, People and The Music That Makes Me Dance.

The show continues until Saturday. Visit

Sarah Hardy