Monday 21 October 2019

Stormy Streisand musical hits high notes at theatre

David Looby

There were packed houses for New Ross Musical Society's witty production of Funny Girl at St Michael's Theatre.

Featuring eye-popping costumes and wonderful local talent occupying them, the story based on the life and career of Broadway star, film actress and comedian Fanny Brice, featuring her stormy relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nick Arnstein, was an entertaining romp.

Based on the 1963 musical which starred Barbara Streisand, this was the society's 51st consecutive production.

Featuring such beloved songs such as; `People', `Sadie, Sadie' and `Don't Rain on My Parade', a strong cast led by the amazing singer Yvette Walsh, brought the colour of Broadway and life in the fast lane to crowds over six nights.

Derek Shannon took the reins as director, producing an entertaining show featuring everything from stunning solo dance routines (James Dobbs), to burlesque and other imaginative dance ensembles featuring several musical society stalwarts.

The main cast featured Yvette Walsh, Keith Flanagan, Teresa Buckley, James Dobbs, Seán O'Brien, Carmel Rowe, Catherine French, Phyllis Smith, Trevor Kent and Niamh Murphy, as well as other well-known faces. One very well-known face, and a newcomer to the society, was celebrity TV chef Edward Hayden who excelled as flamboyant Broadway show boss Florenz Ziegfield.

The orchestra guided by the metronomic conductor Philip Kennedy impressed throughout, offering a versatile mix of music from the 60s.

The dancers benefited from the instruction of choreographer Anne-Marie Cooney who brought her vast experience to bear on the complex dance routines. With Paul Malone as production manager, the show impressed from start to finish, the performers getting the most out of a thin script and plot line. As New Ross Musical Society begin preparations for their next show, there can be no denying the high standards they continue to maintain.

New Ross Standard