Theatre Review #1- Barnum

And a rare Lauren has appeared.. Yeah, sorry about that. There’s been a lot going on so I haven’t been able to post in a while! But hey ho, back now and (hopefully) here to stay, so hello!

Anyway, here’s a casual theatre review to get back into things. 

On Tuesday evening, I went to see ‘Barnum‘ on tour at the Birmingham Hippodrome. I missed it when it was local, but someone recommended it to me, so being my dad’s first ever theatre show when he was a child and the good reports we’d heard, we decided to watch it. I really was not sure what to expect. Of course, you can’t go wrong with the theatre (for me) and I’m a big fan, but I wasn’t sure how ‘me’ the show would be.. But I went and watched it anyway.. And I can honestly say I loved it. Every moment. There’s just so much to say about it. 

 

The show’s leaflet
 
 The cast included Brian Conley playing the role of PT Barnum himself and Linzi Hateley in the role of Chairy Barnum, alongside an extraordinary ensemble. 

The style of the performance was very non-naturalistic, which is something I very much enjoy watching and due to that there was room for quite a bit of ad-lib. Early on in the performance, during a silence, someone shouted something to ‘Brian’, to which his response was the opening line, stating his character’s name. This was also repeated when it happened again later and caused giggles from the audience and allowed Conley to stay in character. Another point when this was potentially relavent was the tight rope scene- Conley fell off and jokingly blamed a member of the audience for being a distraction, in character, and we don’t know if that was scripted or not which makes better and more comedic, actually. Another thing this made room for was physical theatre. This was used frequently and amazingly so, but my favourite example was the mix of physical theatre and dance used in the factory building scene. A well choreographed construction perfected with the help of all of the cast members. You really do need to see it.  Again, dance and music was a feature, which is expected being a musical. The choreography though.. Oh goodness. It was just wonderful. Not all set to one style, but the ensemble made the performance absolutely beautiful. I would dream to dance with them, if I’m honest. And the acro involved was stunning, both before the show when they interacted with the audience to show off their stunts and tricks, and throughout. 

The physicalisation of the characters are amazing, too. One scene that stood out was that in which the chorus multi-roled as passers by, coming and going past Joice Heath, and they all looked so different, even 2 characters played by the same member. It was amazing. I’ve used this technique, multiroling in the same scene represented by physical characterisation before and I love it, but it’s more satisfying to watch. 

And now onto the music..

I think my favourite song has to be black and white, closely followed by I like your style. Black and white is a wonderful number involving a majority of the cast at a key point in the play and I like your style is a really cute song involving Chairy and Barnum himself.   

The list of musical numbers in Barnum.

And I’ve got to mention Linzi Hateley’s voice.. Oh goodness, she’s extraordinary live.. Insert heart eyes emoji here. She portrayed Chairy perfectly and performed any musical numbers in a way I can’t imagine anyone else doing so! Just, wow. And of course I’m going to mention Kimberly Blake in the role of Jenny Lind. Her classical voice is so clearly professionally trained and you could happily listen to her all day (despite the fact I’m not too fond of the character Jenny herself.)

Overall, this performance was filled with perfected choreography, moving scenes and it’s honestly one of the best shows I’ve seen, so I really reccomend it. 

So, I know I hardly make a theatre critic but I just wanted to write a casual Theatre reccomendation/review and here it is. Expect more to follow!

I hope you’re all having a lovely week, anyway. What was the last show you saw?

Love always, Lauren x  

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