It’s too soon for surfeit. Day One is drawing to an end, and so am I. We had the morning off and I wrote letters and tried British Crossword puzzles, which are very difficult. I even tried one in Latin – got two slots filled. We had lunch at the Menier Chocolate Factory, no longer a factory but a restaurant and theatre, seating about 230 people, with a great track record. A number of shows, mostly musicals, have transferred to the West End from here, and the one we saw today will be no exception, slated for the Savoy in March, and after six months, possibly New York.
Funny Girl has not been produced in the UK since 1966. Barbra Streisand put her stamp on the show and no one has dared to mount a major production without her. Now a British actor, Sheridan Smith, has put her own spin on a somewhat different version of the original script; the book has been revised by Harvey Fierstein. We met backstage with Ms. Smith and with the actors playing her mother, Marilyn Cutts, and her man, Darius Campbell. (At last! a gorgeous tall man who can sing.) It is a different spin: Streisand really is a funny girl and she could never resist a good line. The line often trumped the character. Sheridan Smith puts more pathos into her interpretation, helped by the plot clarification at the end of the play. Of course, she can’t sing like Streisand, but she belts out her songs with emotion.
I hate the knee-jerk standing ovations that audiences tend to give now, at least in North America but I was happy to stand and applaud Sheridan Smith. Watch for her.
It was another rich meal, called a lunch, more like dinner, and I don’t feel like eating now. Perhaps I can go and find a bowl of soup to hold me for the night. Tomorrow, failing my swim, I will try to find time and a place to walk. We start the day, however, with “an in-depth look at the country we are visiting – the politics and social issues of the day, a discussion with the political columnist Martin Kettle of The Guardian.”
Maybe I can walk in the afternoon. Anon, anon.