Menier Chocolate Factory
Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes
This show is now closed.
Barnum tells the story of P.T. Barnum, the Greatest Showman on Earth, who combines razzle-dazzle with charm and brass to sell “humbug” to cheering crowds. A joyful and moving musical portrait of the nineteenth century’s greatest show-biz legend, Barnum is a colourful, dynamic spectacle full of circus, side-show legends, toe-tapping songs and immense heart.
What to expect:Acting
based on 2 reviews
Not a West End production but a good effort considering the restricted size of the theater.Suitable for all ages.
DENISE London Box Office customer
Defeat snatched out of the jaws of victory!
This production of Barnum was nearly perfect. But the nearly must truly be stressed here... The creative staging, incredibly talented and versatile ensemble, and the performances by actors in supporting roles contributed brought the stage alive with energy and fun. Standout performances were certainly the actress playing Charity Barnum. Her delightful voice coupled with her strong portrayal of the “both feet on the ground” wife of a dreamer brought her character to life with warmth. The actor playing Tom Thumb stopped the show with his rousing and fun, “Bigger Isn’t Better.” This actor ably demonstrated his “triple threat” chops with this cleverly staged and dynamic number. The sad and sometimes painful exception to the stellar ensemble and supporting players was the actor cast in the title character of Phineas Taylor Barnum. One wonders just how this colossal casting error was made while clearly nailing the choices for nearly every other role. The gentleman playing Barnum seemed uncomfortable and ill at ease in the role from the outset. His vocals were weak and this was made painfully apparent any time Barnum sang with his leading lady. The ballad “The Colors of My Life” was bland and flat, and the leading player’s voice was nearly drowned out in “I like your style.” Finally, and most disappointingly, the lead actor failed to capture the essence of the fast-talking, energetic, film-flam artist, showman extraordinaire in his portrayal of Barnum. This show demands an actor with strong presence and charisma, but this production’s Barnum has neither. One wants the actor in this role to be the driving energy force in moving the show forward. In this production, however, the moments when we are left with Barnum onstage alone, the show deflates like a leaking balloon. This actor was at his best when he was ad libbing and speaking directly with audience members. When the words were his (and not on book) he seemed to relax and develop a rapport with the audience making witty observations as he taught a couple to play the kazoo. Another such moment was when he “fell” (perhaps deliberately?) off the tight rope during the closing number of the first act only to stop the action and query the audience, “Is anyone worried?” Unfortunately these moments of personality were fleeting and as the scripted action resumed, the actor faded back to blandness. This was the first time I ever saw a production at this theater and overall the show impressed me. The horribly miscast actor in the title role does give one pause. I found myself wondering how in a city so full of talent this gentleman was the best the director could find to be the anchor of this musical theater gem.
David London Box Office customer
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Menier Chocolate Factory
51 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1RU
- Disabled toilets
- Wheelchair/scooter access
- Capacity: 180
- Year built: 2004