Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Review: The Smallest Show on Earth (UK Tour) at the Wycombe Swan

The Smallest Show on Earth (UK Tour)
Wycombe Swan
Reviewed on Monday 19th October 2015

Based on the 1950s movie of the same name, The Smallest Show on Earth has been adapted for the stage by Paul Alexander and Thom Southerland, the latter of whom also directed the production. Featuring a glorious score by Irving Berlin, the piece provides a few hours of easy theatrical viewing.

The Smallest Show on Earth centres around two newly-weds who inherit a failing cinema and take on the challenge of turning the business around; however, the owners of the rival cinema are far from happy and proclaim war. The whole thing is a little bizarre, but I fully embraced the simplicity and classic heart-warming comedy.

Berlin's music is beautifully placed within the story; the staging of 'Blue Skies' provides the evening's highlight. Lee Proud's choreography is the production's strongest element - the company numbers are slick and on point. 

Laura Pitt-Pulford and Haydn Oakley lead the cast superbly. Oakley comes into his own as an impressionable leading man whilst Pitt-Pulford’s vocals soar, sounding more stunning than ever. The pair have fantastic chemistry and pitch the tone well.

Matthew Crowe steals the spotlight several times alongside Christina Bennington and Sam O'Rourke who both come into their own as the piece progresses. Bennington in particular stands out in the second act, leading a terrific song and dance number.

It's actually nice to see a small harmless show entertaining audiences on a smaller scale. The first act is a little slow in places, but the second act steps up a gear; it's impossible to resist the old school charm.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

The Smallest Show on Earth runs at the Wycombe Swan until Saturday 24th October and tours the UK until Saturday 28th November 2015. Please visit www.thesmallestshowonearth.co.uk for further information, full tour dates and tickets.

Photo Credit: Alastair Muir

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