Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Review: Barnum (UK Tour) at the New Wimbledon Theatre

Barnum (UK Tour) 
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 14th October 2014

Centring around the life of 'America’s Greatest Showman' P. T. Barnum as he puts together the world's first travelling circus, Barnum is the the most spectacular touring show I have seen all year.

This was my first time seeing Cy Coleman, Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble's musical, which is now under the direction of Jean-Pierre Van Der Spuy. Barnum is a colourful extravaganza of a musical, before the show has even begun the cast bounce into the auditorium showcasing tremendous character and circus tricks. There are impressive acrobatics as well as cast members juggling over audience members' heads. The buzz in the air was joyous. 

Choreographer Andrew Wright is unstoppable! The ensemble are ridiculously talented, bringing each and every musical number to life. I didn't know where to look as every inch of the stage was filled with such talent, Wright's choreography can not be faulted. Shockingly I didn't know the score at all, but found myself tapping my foot along. The big numbers are simple but catchy while the ballads were wonderful. My personal highlight was 'Black and White'. 

Brian Conley is a showman playing a showman - he owns the stage like nobody else can. Conley has the audience in the palm of his hand whilst his voice is a perfect fit for the score. He pulls off the circus tricks and looks as if he's been playing the role for years as he is so at ease. Linzi Hateley is always a dream; her portrayal of Chairy - Barnum's wife - marks another triumphant performance.

If you're a fan of these glorious old-school musicals you must see Barnum. I loved every second of discovering the show for the first time and wouldn't be surprised if it ended up transferring to the West End. 

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Barnum (UK Tour) runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until Saturday 18th October 2014.
Please visit for info, tour dates and tickets.

Photo Credit: Johan Persson

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