Review: Barnum at The Mayflower in Southampton

Brian Conley in Barnum
Brian Conley in Barnum
Jack Edwards, who starred in the Kings Theatre panto as Sarah Spoilit, will host this year's Guide Awards

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Brian Conley makes a welcome return to the Mayflower – and is better than ever before.

Telling the story of PT Barnum, the 19th century sideshow entertainer who was once the richest man in America, producer Cameron Mackintosh has secured the services of the perfect showman in Conley.

A troupe of tumblers, jugglers, acrobats and clowns help tell Barnum’s story of success and tragedy

As you’d expect, there’s plenty of humour but added to his array of skills is fantastic music and effortless circus tricks, including juggling, stilt walking and a tightrope walk.

More of a surprise comes in the second half of the show through a series of monologues performed beautifully, showing Conley’s skill beyond the laughter.

While the staging is simple yet effective, the glitz is provided by eye-catching choreography, toe-tapping band music and a troupe of tumblers, jugglers, acrobats and clowns to help tell Barnum’s story of success and tragedy.

Playing the role of his wife Chairy, Linzi Hateley has great chemistry with Conley, while the role of Swedish Nightingale Jenny Lind is beautifully voiced by Kimberley Blake.

Until June 20.