“Funny Girl” at the Fugard Theatre

funny-girl-posterAnother theatre night for #englishrosiee and I meant watching a new musical at the Fugard Theatre “Funny Girl”. You probably heard of the film version of the story, which made Barbra Streisand famous (ja, it’s THAT old). I didn’t see it and didn’t really know anything about the play before we went to see it. Having said that, I expected the best from the Fugard, which after all rarely disappoints.

The plot is quite interesting and unfortunately still not outdated. Fanny (Ashleigh Harvey) is a girl with a beautiful voice and not so beautiful face. She dreams of a career in theatre but is discouraged to pursue it by her family. Her nearest and dearest are trying to convince her that the most important advantage of a woman is her beauty and this is what people go to see when paying for a performance. Despite discouragement Fanny keeps believing in herself and in her comedic skills. Her stubbornness gets her where she wants to be but that’s only the beginning of the story. Soon after her career takes off she meets a very handsome but rather unreliable man, Nick (Clyde Berning). Will Fanny be forced to choose between her two loves, Nick and the theatre? Will she be successful in her pursuit of happiness? You’ll certainly find out if you manage to catch the musical at the Fugard Theatre in the next two weeks. If you’re not in Cape Town you can always watch the movie.

The plot is certainly a big asset of the play as it’s very involving. The character of Fanny is amiable and we do want her to succeed in all imaginable ways. At the same time we’re all a bit suspicious of Nick and whether he’s any good for her. I’m sure that a lot of ladies in the audience caught themselves remembering the “dangerous” men in their own lives during the play. The actors are really well suited for their roles and there’s a good acting chemistry between them. As much as we know there’s perhaps a much better suitor for Fanny in her surrounding, we do want her and Nick to work out against our better judgment.

The acting of everyone in the show is remarkable, but even more importantly they sing and dance very well. Ms Harvey has a very strong voice which makes the walls tremble. She’s also very funny with her exaggerated facial expressions. Her partner’s voice is perhaps not as great as hers but more than enough for the role. I must say I enjoyed the sensual way in which he talks much more than his singing. This is not to say there’s anything to complain about the latter. The music is really good but the songs are not as catchy as in other musicals. I didn’t leave the theatre humming anything in particular.

The scenography was well prepared but not panty dropping. One should also mention the impressive costumes which are almost exact copies of what the stars wore in the movie (I checked a YouTube video after the show).

To sum up, everything in the musical gets from either 4 out of 5 or 5 stars with the average of 4,5/5. If you have the time to watch it and a spare 300 rand (some tickets are cheaper but that’s what you pay for an uninterrupted view) do yourself a favor and go have some fun watching “Funny Lady”.

Have you seen the movie, Dear Rinser? Perhaps you’re a Capetonian who has seen the play? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

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