Birmingham and Tour
BARNUM: Cy Coleman, Michael Stewart, Mark Bramble
7 July – 1 August 2015 and touring
Runs: 2h 15m, one interval
Tickets: 0844 338 5000
Full tour info: www.barnummusical.com/
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 09 07 15
Give yourself a treat.
BARNUM is a terrific night (or afternoon) out. Good natured, up-beat numbers, and a host of interesting characters. It’s about living your dream, too. And if you take one or two people for a ride? . . . Well, they get a good time out of it too.
Despite winning many awards when first performed, it’s never quite achieved the status of big musicals. It’s a puzzle; but perhaps because it has no all encompassing emotional story at its heart, perhaps because the big numbers are never quite big enough. But in its original London production in the 80s, none of this would have mattered – the star was all. It was Michael Crawford.
For this revival Barnum could not possibly be better played than it is by Brian Conley. This man really knows how to work an audience, and let’s remember P T Barnum was a showman to the tip of his toes. Conley can do whatever he wants, and we’re still eating out of his hand. He drives it all along whether singing, dancing or just talking to us. His bright personality lights up the farthest corners of the auditorium. A great performance.
The two women in his life, Chairy Barnum and Jenny Lind (Linzi Hatley and Kimberly Blake) are both played with great sincerity, bringing an emotional thread into the show and ensuring it has a heart.
There’s a strong ensemble who create a host of minor characters who hold our interest. Singing and dancing are expertly performed. Rousing end to Act I with OUT THERE, and show stopping JOIN THE CIRCUS. A very cleverly staged BIGGER ISN’T BETTER from a charming Tom Thumb (Mikey Jay-Heath).
It won’t change your world, but it’ll make it feel a whole lot better.
Phineas T Barnum: Brian Conley
Chairy Barnum: Linzi Hately
Jenny Lind: Kimberly Blake
Joice Hetty / Blues Singer: Landi Oshinowo
Tom Thumb: Mikey Jay-Heath
Ringmaster / Bailey: John Stacey
Ensemble: Georgie Ashford
Swing: Greg Bernstein
Wilton: David Birch
Ensemble: Gourtney-Mae Briggs
Chester-Lynan / Sherwood Stratford / Humbert Morrissey: Nick Butcher
Ensemble: Alison Connell
Ensemble: Stafan Dermendjek
Ensemble: Silvia Dopazo
Swing: Lewis Easter
Swing: Chris Gage
Swing: Joanna Goodwin
Ensemble: Pascal Haering
Swing: Rebecca Hawkins
Ensemble: Erin Jameson
Ensemble: Jennifer Robinson
Ensemble: Louis Stockil
Mrs Sherwood Stratton: Lucy Thatcher
Amos Scudder / Julius Goldshmidt / Edgar Templeton: Edward Wade
Director: Jean-Pierre Van Der Spuy
Choreographer: Andrew Wright
Musical Supervisor: Stephen Booker
Associate Director: Stephen Whitson
Musical Director: Ian Townsend
Orchestrator: William David Brown
Sound Design: Mick Potter
Original Lighting: Paule Constable
Tour Lighting: Richard Pacholski and Simon Sherriff
Circus Consultant: Juliette Hardy-Donaldson
Costume Design: Paul Wills
Associate Scenic Design: Lone Schacksen
Scenic Design: Scott Pask