Chorleywooder Linzi Hateley smashes it again as leading lady playing opposite Brian Conley’s Phineas Taylor Barnum in Cameron Mackintosh’s UK tour of the colourful circus musical extravaganza Barnum at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday.
The story traces the career of America’s greatest showman from 1835 to the year he joined Bailey to create The Greatest Show On Earth and combines musical theatre with circus performance, complete with impressive choreography, trapeze antics, flipping and free falling, all kicking off with a crowd warming tricks by the cast in the auditorium before the curtain goes up.
Hateley, who has performed in many West End musicals including London Road, Mamma Mia, Mary Poppins, Chicago, Grease, Les Mis and Joseph, is perfectly cast as Barnum’s sensible and devoted wife Chairy. The chemistry, spark and shared sense of humour between the two lead characters is brilliantly portrayed. Conley’s magnetic charm and comic timing makes him a lovable Barnum and he maintains a rapport with the audience throughout, not least when he teases some front row seat occupants and attempts a tight rope walk.
Strictly for musical lovers, this show has extravagant costumes plus the jolliest of scores, packed with upbeat songs but punctuated with the necessary emotional numbers including The Colours of My Life sung by Barnum and Chairy with reprises. Hateley’s tone is an absolute pleasure and her powerful vocals are likely to stay with you long after you leave the theatre.
The production sound team has another Chorleywood link in Owen, who learned his first fading skills at Christ Church CW and St Clement Danes Barbirolli Hall desk.
A great end of the week entertainment that’s worth the 45 mins motoring up the M1, especially as seats are cheaper than the West End. Few left for tonight (Friday 15 May)