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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Review: Barnum at Hull New Theatre



The Greatest Show on Earth

Photo: Johan Persson

Barnum
Hull New Theatre
Until 25thOctober then on tour

Photo: Johan Persson

Phineas Taylor Barnum was America’s second millionaire, bankrupted twice yet still died America’s richest man. This show is a lavish musical which is in the spirit of Barnum himself. It is about giving the audience a good time from the very beginning.

Photo:
Johan Persson
Before the curtain goes up the ensemble is mingling in the crowd showing off their circus tricks and trying to get the audience to take part. The Razzmatazz continues as the curtain goes up as the 11 piece orchestra and the acrobats join the circus performers. P T Barnum himself would have been impressed by the colourful display that filled the stage.

Photo:
Johan Persson
The story broadly follows a number of aspects of Barnum’s life. Brian Conley is called upon to interact at times with the crowd and improvises as well as many stand-up comics. He also walks the literal tight-rope in a brilliant performance as the man credited with been a legend of self-promotion and advertising. The wonderful Linzi Hateley plays Chairy Barnum and there is lots of onstage chemistry between these two pivotal characters. 

The singing is always top notch. Linzi Hateley, Kimberly Blake, as the Swedish Nightingale Jenny Lind, and Landi Oshinowo, in both her roles as Joice Heth and the Blues Singer, are are all note perfect with a range of delightful numbers. 
Photo:
Johan Persson

 Mikey Jay-Heath as Tom Thumb and Brian Conley hold the singing honours for the lads.

Photo:
Johan Persson
The set is visually stunning as it doubles as the arena for many of Barnum’s stunts. Even the set changes were turned into circus style routines which had a round of applause from the appreciative audience. The only quibble would be that it was a shame that the talented orchestra was hidden away for much of the show.

Photo:
Johan Persson
It has long been a bug bear of the Jowheretogo team that there is a lack of shows, outside of panto season, which are suitable for the whole family. Barnum is one such show that will keep the whole family entertained.  On a number of occasions the stage is filled with circus frivolity .

Barnum the musical is a stunning exploration of a larger than life character.

Photo: Johan Persson

This review was written by Stephen Oliver for Jowheretogo PR (www.jowheretogo.com). Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook www.facebook.com/Jowheretogo


Tour dates include:
Photo:
Johan Persson

Edinburgh Playhouse 28 Oct - 1 Nov 2014 - 0844 871 301

Tue - Sat 7.30pm
Wed, Thu & Sat
2.30pm

Newcastle Theatre Royal 17 - 28 Feb 2015 - 08448 11 21 21

Tue - Sat eves 7.30pm
Wed
2pm (18 Feb only)
Thu
2pm & Sat 2.30pm


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