Bringing circus to the stage

PUBLISHED: 12:11 09 February 2006 | UPDATED: 11:33 04 May 2010

Barnum by the Viva Youth Theatre. Review by Rosemary Westwell Creating a circus on stage must be a director s nightmare. Dan Schumann, director of Viva Youth Theatre s production of Barnum, achieved far more than this! His extravaganza at Lodeside Soham

Barnum by the Viva Youth Theatre.

Review by Rosemary Westwell

Creating a circus on stage must be a director's nightmare. Dan Schumann, director of Viva Youth Theatre's production of Barnum, achieved far more than this!

His extravaganza at Lodeside Soham Village College, roller-coasted through the life story of Barnum in a series of unforgettable showstoppers.

All the razzmatazz of the larger-than-life showbiz style of Barnum positively radiated from the stage.

Splendid singing, dancing and acting captivated the audience in a world of indomitable optimism. Ingenious staging and props (including a six-and-a-half-ton elephant) and a constant flow of energetic circus acts amazed the eye and made the show a real winner.

Barnum (played by Simon Thompson) was the out-and-out showman, creating constant grief for his devoted wife Charity (Shellie Baigent).

Hannah Schumann as the 161-year-old Joice Heth, Craig Carpenter as General Tom Thumb, Charly Johnson as Jenny Lind and Hetti Wood as the Blues Singers were also especially

memorable.

The masterful Ringmaster (Daniel White) ushered in more fascinating characters played by Guy Watts, Robert White and Kylie Brackenridge.

The choreography by Jenny Roberts and Karen Revill was particularly skilfully designed and performed. The action and dancing exhibited rare

sensitivity to the rhythm, mood and style of the music played by the highly talented and capable band.

Band members included Steve Kenna (clavinova), Melanie Bell (keyboard), Jamie Clay and Leslie Aves (trumpet), David Cameron and Ryan Aves (trombone), Trevor Johnson (tuba), Chris Thompson (guitar), Mark Ellis and Daniel Bocking (drums), Alan Grayer (double bass) and Mark Bell (saxophone).

Director Dan Schumann, musical director Angela Bocking, producer Judy Heath and their large supportive team have every right to be very pleased with this wonderful show.

INFO: If you are aged between 10 and 25 years old and would like to join this group, contact dan@viv-youth-theatre.org.uk

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