It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of musicals. It’s also no secret that as much as I love the Les Mis stage version, I’m not a fan of the film due to the way the sound/singing was recorded. It was with some hesitation that I decided to watch The Greatest Showman.
The film tells the life of Phineas Taylor (PT) Barnum, American Showman and the founder of Barnum & Bailey’s Circus. It isn’t true to life (though some bits are) but aims to tell a story “in the spirit of PT Barnum” and act as a celebration of humanity. Therefore the creators have taken a fair bit of artistic licence with the tale and I’m ok with that.
During the film, Barnum gathers a variety of oddities, from Fedor Jeftichew aka The Dog Boy, the world’s heaviest man (The Lord of Leeds, played by Daniel Everidge) and Shannon Holtzapffel as Prince Constantine, The Tattooed Man who all bring something different to the circus and the film itself. The recruitment scene near the start is one of my favourites.
Whilst there were great performances all around, Hugh Jackman (as PT Barnum), Keala Settle (as Lettie Lutz, The Bearded Lady), Zac Efron (as Phillip Carlyle, a character based in-part on Barnum’s real-life partner, James Bailey) and Zendaya (As Acrobat/Trapeze Artist Anne Wheeler) shone throughout. ‘Rewrite the Stars’ has to be one of the best scenes in the movie, coming a close second to the ‘This is Me’ routine, powerfully performed by Keala Settle and co. Other notable songs include the title track ‘The Greatest Show’ and ‘From Now On’.
The only issue I had with the film is the scene set in England with Queen Victoria. To me, the actress playing her wasn’t quite right. Apart from that, it is a real, feel-good movie with a great message on inclusion. I really hope it does well during award season this year.
The Prince Charles Cinema announced that they would be showing a sing-along version on Saturday 27th of January. I managed to get the last ticket as they sold out very quickly. I’m not a great singer. I sang in choirs and on stage in ‘Hansel & Gretel’ at The Bloomsbury Theatre in 1983/84 as a child but when my voice broke I gave up. I still enjoy it no matter how bad I sound- I blame my mother! Luckily, others at the PCC were the same. Only a few decent singers, the rest of us just “harmonised”!
Before the film begam Toby Anstis of Heart FM Radio fame ran some competitions, gave away some freebies and held a very quick Q&A with the director of the film, Michael Gracey. Then there was a fancy dress competition; a young girl dressed as Barnum, won a hat worn (and signed by) Hugh Jackman himself.
Then the film began. It was a fun afternoon and was so popular that the PCC have announced more screenings.
My only gripe: for a film that promotes inclusion and equality (and has a large man as a character) why were all the freebie tee shirts only large?? At least my niece will get something to wear.