Sheridan Smith Shines in Opening Night: A Review

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Sheridan Smith is a name synonymous with versatility in the entertainment industry. From her comedic roles in popular television shows like Two Pints of Lager and Gavin and Stacey to her poignant portrayals in ITV dramas such as Cilla and Mrs Biggs, Smith has proven time and again that she can tackle any role with grace and conviction. Her latest venture on the West End stage in Opening Night showcases yet another aspect of her talent, as she takes on the challenging role of troubled actress Myrtle Gordon.

Opening Night, a play within a play, follows the cast and crew of a fictional production, The Second Woman, as they navigate the chaos leading up to their Broadway debut. Directed by Ivo van Hove, the musical is an adaptation of John Cassavetes’ 1977 film of the same name. The story revolves around Myrtle, the leading lady whose life unravels after the death of one of her fans triggers a mental breakdown. As the alcohol-fueled meltdown of Myrtle unfolds, the audience is taken on a rollercoaster of emotions and introspection.

Sheridan Smith delivers a standout performance in Opening Night, showcasing her exceptional singing talents and bringing a unique blend of vulnerability and rawness to the character of Myrtle. This role hits close to home for Smith, who has openly shared her own struggles with anxiety and self-doubt. The real-time filming displayed on a vast on-stage screen adds an intimate element rarely seen in theatre, allowing the audience to witness every tear and smile up close.

While Smith shines in the role of Myrtle, the supporting cast members also deliver stellar performances. Hadley Fraser and John Marquez excel in their roles as the overbearing director Manny and concerned producer David, respectively. Nicola Hughes’ portrayal of frustrated playwright Sarah Goode serves as a worthy match for Smith’s Myrtle. Additionally, Shira Haas captivates as the ghost of Myrtle’s young fan Nancy, adding an eerie and haunting presence to the stage.

The musical numbers in Opening Night, including ‘Life is Thin’ and ‘Ready for Battle’ from Rufus Wainwright’s soundtrack, add an evocative element to the production. The behind-the-scenes chaos builds to a tense crescendo as Myrtle continues to be haunted by visions of Nancy, ultimately leading to a hopeful conclusion. Despite the turmoil and despair depicted throughout the play, Opening Night hints at a second act in the life of Myrtle, leaving the audience with a sense of anticipation and reflection.

Sheridan Smith’s performance in Opening Night is nothing short of extraordinary. Her ability to bring depth and authenticity to the character of Myrtle is a testament to her talent and dedication as an actress. The supporting cast members add layers of complexity to the narrative, making for a compelling and emotional theatrical experience. With its gripping storyline and powerful performances, Opening Night is a must-see production that highlights the depth and range of Sheridan Smith’s acting prowess.


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