REVIEW: Barnum, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, Until Saturday, February 28

LEGENDARY SHOWMAN ... Brian Conley is starring in Barnum at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle.
LEGENDARY SHOWMAN ... Brian Conley is starring in Barnum at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle.

COME Follow the Band to the Theatre Royal for the greatest show on Earth.

The circus rolled into town this week as the UK tour of Barnum hit the venue.

The show is a dazzling spectacle and an explosion of colour – it’s an absolute delight.

Brian Conley leads the cast as the eccentric Phineas T Barnum, the real life 19th century man who became known as America’s greatest showman.

Conley is simply phenomenal in the role.

The charismatic actor completely embodies the character and has very clearly done some extensive training.

Between his cheeky banter with the audience, his sleight-of-hand magic tricks, fire-eating, and tight rope-walking, his performance absolutely blew everyone away.

You could feel the tension as he stepped out onto the tight rope and the theatre exploded in rapturous applause when he made it safely to the other side.

Even before the show began, the audience was transported to the circus as performers made their way into the stalls and dress circle.

Skilled ensemble members juggled in the aisles, performed acrobatic tricks, walked across the backs of people’s seats, and walked down the stairs on their hands as people gasped and tensed up at the thought of them falling and hurting themselves.

The spectacle let everyone know what an amazing night they were in for, and it just kept getting better and better.

Throughout the show, actors somersaulted across the stage, performed flips and tricks in the air, and rode unicycles.

The chemistry between Conley and his on-stage wife (Linzi Hateley as Chairy Barnum) was fantastic, and you really believed the relationship.

The set and the costumes were colourful and gorgeous, the show really was stunning.

Choreography was fantastic and completely captured the feel of the show, generating an infectiously fun atmosphere.

Songs like There Is A Sucker Born Ev’ry Minute, I Like Your Style and Bigger Isn’t Better were catchy and enjoyable.

The scene surrounding number One Brick At A Time was particularly impressive as cast members danced around the stage with boxes that eventually came together to spell out a sign. I can’t imagine how long it took to figure out the routine.

Tongue-twisting track Museum Song (Egress Song) was performed impeccably by Conley and left the audience stunned.

The show, from producer Cameron Mackintosh, was filled with breathtaking performances, nail-biting stunts, and high energy fun.

At times, there was so much going on that you didn’t quite know where to look, but Barnum is fantastic – and that’s no humbug!

Barnum runs at the Theatre Royal until Saturday, February 28. Click here to book tickets.

Twitter: @ShieldsGazVicki