Por­tray­ing dan­gers

Brian Clar­idge chats with his name­sake about the­atre hit Bar­num – the tale of a show­man’s life – to find out more about a show that con­sis­tently gets rave reviews

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I

THAS at­tracted high praise from crit­ics, such as ‘the­atri­cal en­ergy of the high­est or­der’ and ‘big, sharp, witty, breathtaking and emo­tional’. Cameron Mack­in­tosh and Chich­ester Fes­ti­val The­atre’s record-break­ing pro­duc­tion of the popular mu­si­cal fol­lows the ir­re­press­ible imag­i­na­tion and dreams of Phineas T Bar­num, cur­rently star­ring Brian Con­ley.

The story of his life and his mar­riage to Chairy (Linzi Hate­ley) re­veals a cou­ple who looked at the world from op­po­site sides of the spec­trum, and un­cov­ers that she was the prac­ti­cal one who made Bar­num’s dreams come true.

We follow the leg­endary show­man’s life as he lit up the world with the colour, warmth and ex­cite­ment of his imag­i­na­tion and even­tu­ally teamed up with JA Bai­ley to cre­ate Bar­num and Bai­ley’s Cir­cus – The Great­est Show on Earth.

The pro­duc­tion was a smash hit when it opened on Broad­way in 1980. Star­ring Glenn Close and Jim Dale, it won three Tony Awards.

In 1981, it opened at the London Pal­la­dium. Michael Craw­ford’s stun­ning per­for­mance as Bar­num won him an Oliver Award.

“I re­mem­ber see­ing Michael Craw­ford at the London Pal­la­dium, and it’s been my am­bi­tion to play the role ever since,” says Brian. “Thanks to Michael Har­ri­son and Sir Cameron Mack­in­tosh, my dream has fi­nally come true.”

Brian’s ca­reer spans three decades and in­cludes a record eight ap­pear­ances at The Royal Va­ri­ety Per­for­mance, nu­mer­ous West End shows, in­clud­ing Oliver! and Hair­spray, and an Olivier Award in 1996 for his stun­ning per­for­mance in Jol­son.

The Stephen K Amos tour show is pre­sented by Get Stuffed Com­edy Club

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