On Stage: Funny Girl

Australian stage star, Caroline O’Connor, again shows her many amazing talents in Funny Girl on at Melbourne’s State Theatre.

TPC FUNNY GIRL photo Jeff Busby - Caroline O'Connor (2)

Caroline O’Connor in Funny Girl

Everything is perfect – her singing, acting, dancing and comic timing – in what must be an exhausting role given the amount of time she spends on stage.

TPC FUNNY GIRL photo Jeff Busby_Caroline O'Connor and David Hobson

Caroline O’Connor and David Hobson

Funny Girl is the story of popular and influential American comedienne, singer and actress, Fanny Brice.  Set in and around New York City just prior to and following World War I, the musical follows Brice’s career from a 19 year old, when she is discovered by legendary producer Florenz Ziegfeld, who turns her into a star in his Follies. We see Brice perform, learn of a complex about her appearance and of her love for professional gambler, Nick Arnstein, whom she marries and later divorces.
O’Connor expertly brings to life Brice’s comic talents, her confidence in her ability on stage and her personal insecurities. There are laugh out loud moments as she plays a chicken, pregnant bride and soldier in very colorful musical numbers. Then there are the touching moments when she seeks reassurances that her daughter looks beautiful. Her delivery of the musical’s many songs including the best known – People and Don’t Rain on My Parade – is wonderful.

TPC FUNNY GIRL photo Jeff Busby_Luke Alleva; Nancye Hayes; Susan-Ann Walker

Luke Alleva, Nancye Hayes and Susan-Ann Walker

O’Connor is ably supported by David Hobson as Nick Arnstein,  Nancye Hayes as Brice’s mother and Luke Alleva as her friend and dance coach Eddie Ryan.  Susan-Ann Walker as Brice’s neighbour Mrs Strakosh and David Ross Paterson as Broadway impresario Florenz Ziegfeld  also give strong performances.

TPC FUNNY GIRL photo Jeff Busby - Female ensemble

The female ensemble

The costumes and choreography are the other great delights of this production from the Production Company.
O’Connor’s costumes range from the `colorful’ outfits she wears during Ziegfeld Follies shows to stunning clothes which illustrate her personal and professional growth.
Both the clothing and choreography in the full company numbers add to the glamorous and lavish feel of the production.

TPC FUNNY GIRL photo Jeff Busby_Caroline O'Connor and Ensemble

Caroline O’Connor and the ensemble

This glamour, together with some great songs and the chance to watch O’Connor in action, ensures this production of Funny Girl is highly entertaining and most enjoyable.

Funny Girl is playing at Arts Centre Melbourne’s State Theatre until July 31. For more information and tickets visit Arts Centre Melbourne.

*Photos: Jeff Busby

Jenny Burns attended the opening night of Funny Girl as a guest of the Production Company.

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