REVIEW: Barnum, Norwich Theatre Royal

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Cameron Mackintosh’s tightrope-walking, fire-breathing circus spectacular Barnum rolled into Norwich Theatre Royal last week.

Brian Conley takes the lead in this tale of America’s greatest showman,first brought to Broadway in 1980 and the West End in 1981, when Michael Crawford won an Olivier award for playing the go-getting dreamer Phineas T Barnum.

The stunts are still there, but Mackintosh has put more of a story into this production.

Barnum is a man passionate about filling the world with colour, working his way up to creating Barnum and Bailey’s Circus – the Greatest Show on Earth.

His wife, Chairy, is not so sure about her husband’s wild ideas, but supports him all the way - even when he fails to support her.

This production is a little slow to get started and the American accents harsh on the ears, but it wins you over in the end.

A real feast for the eyes, with great songs, wit and a nail-biting tightrope walk,

Barnum has all the fun of the fair.

Barnum is at Norwich Theatre Royal until March 14.

CATHERINE MORRIS