Rotherham Civic Theatre / 8 - 13 November 2004

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The Show!

FAME poster

Barnum tells the story of the Prince of Humbug, Phineas Taylor Barnum. Over the objections of his wife, Charity, Barnum attempts to create a show in which the main attractions are freaks of society. Included in this mix of characters includes the oldest women alive, Joice Heth, the smallest man in the world, Tom Thumb, and to top it all off, a glamorous Swedish opera singer, Jenny Lind. Eventually, to appease Charity, Barnum agrees to give up the show and start a normal life. In the end, after Charity dies, Barnum returns to the circus business in grand fashion by forming a partnership with James A. Baily. Thus, the two men form The Greatest Show on Earth

The Cast!


Phineas Taylor Barnum (The Prince of Humbug) - Robert McVeigh / Chairy Barnum (PT Barnum’s Wife) - Rachel Marshall / Joice Heth (The Oldest Woman Alive) - Judith Gray / Tom Thumb (The Smallest Man In The World) - Will Roberts / Julius Goldsmidt (Jenny Lind’s Manager) - Simon Kelly / Jenny Lind (Swedish Soprano) - Niki Carter / Blues Singer (A Blues Singer) - Jo Pelham / James A Bailey (Small Circus Owner) - Geoff Fenwick / Ringmaster (Circus Performer) - Will Martin / Chester Lynam Joyce Heth’s Manager) - Geoff Fenwick / Amos Scudder (Owner of the American Museum) - Kevin Jackson / Mr Stratton (Tom Thumb’s Father) - Kevin Jackson / Mrs Stratton (Tom Thumb’s Mother) - Liz Dawson / Wilton (Barnums Assistant on the Jenny Lind Tour) - Adam Wilson / Edgar Templeton (Political Party Boss) - Harold Howarth / Humbert Morrissey (Political Party Boss) - Ashley White / First Woman (Womens Emporium) - Nicola Jeffs / Second Woman (Womens Emporium) - Megan Louch

Dancers Nicola Jeffs, Claire Mullins, Louise Bashforth, Emily Cooper, Heather Burgin, Claire Markham, Alicia Cutler, Louise Eyre, Lyndsay Dilks, Caroline Myers, Ashlea Booth, Megan Louch

Circus Performers Chris Fenn, Bev Bailey, Helen Wilson, Sheila Lockett, Jenny McAndrew, Roy Cooke, Karen Walker, Shirley Michaelski, Mick Mullins, Emily Moremont, Rebecca Moremont, Becky Hart, Liz Goddard, Natalie Chaim, Denise Marshall, Gemma Guinn, Marsha Kelly

The Production Team!

Co- Director : Elaine Demaine

Co-Director / Choreographer : Dee Bennie-Marshall

Musical Director : Heather Jackson

Director's Cut

Co-Director - Dee Bennie-Marshall
"This lively, colourful, energetic show is not for the faint hearted and kept us all very fit. Our rehearsals have been a real experience. The dedication shown by everyone involved as they worked to master the circus skills has been unbelievable and a delight to watch. Our next challenge was to adapt some of the more dangerous skills to keep within the restrictions of our theatre, without losing the impact of the story, not an easy task. "

The Reviews!

Click the review below to read the write up!

NODA - John Sykes

A truely exciting evening

Not a show we see on a regular basis but always a thrill when we do. Such a cornucopia of colourful costumes, supplementing the exceptional choreography of the production numbers, did a lot to embellish this excellent display by a capeable group. To hold all this together we were regaled with excellent individual performances from an extremely energetic Phineas Barnum (Robert McVeigh) and a very stable and sedate performance from Charity (Rachel Marshall). A truely exciting evening.

Rotherham Advertiser - Terry Ellis

Highly recommended
as a good night out

The minute you walk into Rotherham's Civic Theatre to see Barnum, it is easy to forget the bleak grey November night outside. Colourful clowns strut their stuff in the foyer while the Rockingham Band play rousing numers in accompaniment. And the upbeat theme continues as you are plunged into the show itself.

Rotherham Teachers Operatic Society has chosen an ambitious musical, which requires not only good singing but well choreographed dancing and acrobatics, not to mention the circus tricks. But the entire cast carries off the performance very skilfully to produce an enjoyable feel-good show - perfect escapism on these dreary November nights.

Barnum with music by Cy Coleman - perhaps best know for his number Big Spender - and lyrics by Michael Stewart, is based on the book by mark Bramble. It tells the story of Phineus Taylor Barnum, founder of the American Museum and a partner in the famous Barnum and Bailey Circus in the 19th century.

The plot is perhaps not the show's strongest point, but this matters little with the many dazzling performances to carry the audience along - and boredom is certainly never given a chance to set in.

In the title role is Robert McVeigh, who has a strong singing voice and is also convincing when performing circus tricks. And he is more than ably supported by the rest of the cast which includes Rachel Marshall, who plays Barnum's sympathetic wife, Chairy.

Rachel has an excellent, powerful voice and some of the duets by the couple bring a tear to the eye, interspersed as they are between festive scenes of clowns and dancers.

The American accents are in the main plausible - not always an easy feat to pull off.

The only downside of the evening was a slightly erratic sound system which marred a few numbers including the song by Joice Heth - who is alegedly ages 160 years - Thank God I'm Old.

Altogether, Barnum is highly recommended as a good night out. You will certainly leave the theatre humming numbers like Come Follow the Band.

So my advice is rollup, roll up - Barnum plays at the Civic Theatre until tomorrow