West End show Funny Girl heads to Scotland

Scottish recording artist Darius Campbell leads the cast of Funny Girl. Credit: Johan Persson.

Scottish recording artist Darius Campbell leads the cast of Funny Girl. Credit: Johan Persson.

Funny Girl is one of those musicals which has stood the test of time and is still proving to be popular more than 50 years after it first opened on Broadway.

Next month the show is coming to Scotland at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen and The Playhouse in Edinburgh before opening at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow at the end of May.

West End leading lady Natasha J Barnes. Pic credit: Manuel Harlan.

West End leading lady Natasha J Barnes. Pic credit: Manuel Harlan.

The semi-autobiographical musical is based on the life and career of Broadway star, film actress and comedienne Fanny Brice and, arguably, Funny Girl was Barbra Streisand’s big break through her lead role in the original production.

Following in her footsteps at performances in Aberdeen and Glasgow will be West End star Natasha Barnes, while actress Sheridan Smith will play the title role at the Edinburgh Playhouse.

Playing opposite Barnes will be West End stage actor and Scottish singer-songwriter Darius Campbell. Darius, who first shot to fame with his cover version of Britney Spear’s ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ on reality show ‘Popstars’, has since gone on to achieve West End success starring in several hit musicals including Chicago and Guys and Dolls.

The 36-year-old started playing the role of Nick Arnstein in Funny Girl a year and a half ago in London. But for those who might not be familiar with the show, he explained what the role involves: “Funny Girl starred Omar Shariff and Barbra Streisand who first performed the roles on film for audiences all over the world.

Darius is playing the role of Nick Arnstein in the show.

Darius is playing the role of Nick Arnstein in the show.

“It’s a romantic comedy and the main character is Fanny Brice. It is essentially about the love story between Fanny Brice and Nick Arnstein and it’s based on a true story.

“Nick is a gambler and is a suave gentleman who gets himself into some bother by investing in something he shouldn’t have – he is a bit of a dark horse.

“I started playing the role 18 months ago and it’s been so much fun. I have really enjoyed it. I am a massive fan of the musical and it’s amazing to be filling the shoes of Omar Sharif.”

But what are the differences between this role and that of other musicals he has performed in?

He continued: “The difference between this role and others is the people I have been working with. It’s been fun to perform on stage with Sheridan Smith and Natasha Barnes – it’s been great to work with both of these actresses. It has also been very special working with the director Michael Meyer.”

But what does he prefer – recording music or performing on stage?

“I like the variety of recording an album but I also enjoy performing in the theatre and producing films (he produced the Daniel Radcliffe movie Imperium last year). This year I am going to be on tour until August as well as producing my next film and recording music. I am also working on a new album.”

Darius, who was born in Glasgow but now splits his time living between London and Los Angeles, said he is really looking forward to coming to Scotland with the musical: “That is going to be the highlight of the tour coming to Scotland - I can’t wait. The Scots are the best audience in the world.”

He added: “You know you are home when you are in front of a Scottish audience they always give you such a warm welcome.”

Funny Girl The Musical is at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen from April 10 to 15; Edinburgh Playhouse from April 18 to 22 and King’s Theatre, Glasgow, from May 30 to June 3.

For tickets, visit www.funnygirlthemusical.co.uk