Review: Funny Girl

By Laurie Scarborough

Funny Girl has come to South Africa in a sparkle of theatre magic. The musical, currently at The Fugard, reunites Cape Town theatre creatives, Matthew Wild (director), Charl-Johan Lingenfelder (musical director) and Louisa Talbot (choreographer) in this latest production.

The story chronicles the life of comedienne, Fanny Brice, and her rise to fame during the early 20s, her career working for famous Follies producer, Florenz Ziegfeld, and her relationship with professional gambler, Nicky Arnstein. Featuring show-stopping numbers such as “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and “I’m the Greatest Star”, the musical rose to prominence after the Barbra Streisand film adaption in the late 60s.

Leading lady, Ashleigh Harvey, really brought the house down with her strong belting vocals, and her transitions into softer sounds in songs like “People” or “The Music That Makes Me Dance”. She also managed to capture the tragedy of personal failure and loneliness of living on a stage, while also hitting the comedic aspects of the role, especially in “His Love Makes Me Beautiful” and her terribly sincere rendition of Swan Lake.

As always with The Fugard productions, the ensemble was fantastic. SBAM artists, Sven-Eric Müller, who has a great tap and ballet number, and dance captain, Jenna Robinson Child, who are of course regulars at The Fugard (having both featured in West Side Story, Rocky Horror, and Cabaret), did us proud as they shone on stage throughout the show.

Book for tickets here. Show closes mid-June.

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