REVIEW: Funny Girl at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre (Monday, July 24)

ONE of the best performances from a leading lady I have ever seen blew the audience away as Funny Girl opened in the Black Country, writes Dan Sharp.

Natasha J Barnes, who took over the role of Fanny Brice from Sheridan Smith when it was at London’s Savoy Theatre, brought West End quality to the Grand Theatre.

Funny Girl gave global fame to Barbra Streisand 50 years ago and if it doesn’t launch Barnes into the stratosphere then I don’t know what will.

Her vocals were phenomenal, her acting was superb and she brought a loveable comedic warmth and heart-breaking emotion to the theatre which many could only ever dream of.

Helped by some of the most iconic songs in film and theatre history, including the flawless ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’, Barnes let the tears flow with joy after her muchly-deserved standing ovation.

The iconic, laugh-out-loud musical tells the story of Fanny, whose vocal talents and comedic ability see her rise from Brooklyn music hall singer to Broadway star.

Supported by a great cast including Darius Campbell, whose acting skills may not have lived up to my expectations for a West End star but his stunning voice more than made up for it, but Barnes was truly the star and stole every scene she was in.

The odd sound and lighting issues aside – it was opening night after all – it was a laugh-a-minute production of the highest quality, which also tugs on the old heart strings, and one that I could not recommend enough.

Funny Girl is at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Saturday (July 29), with tickets, priced from £23.50, on sale at the box office by calling 01902 429212, or online at

Funny Girl was an outstanding piece of musical theatre captained by the irrepressibly talented Natasha J Barnes who is destined for stardom – 4 ½ out of 5.