BARNUM – The Circus Musical

Published on May 6, 2019

Starring Todd McKenney and Rachael Beck

BARNUM, one of Broadway’s most treasured musicals has returned to Australia in an all-new spectacular production. 

Full of death defying circus stunts, magic, catchy songs, some huge ballads and a whole lot of fantastic dancing, there is something to like in this show for everyone. Based on the life of P.T. Barnum, BARNUM is a colourful, dynamic spectacle, where you will witness the wonders of the world including Jumbo, the largest elephant, Joice Heth the oldest woman to ever live, a great white whale from Labrador, General Tom Thumb only twenty-five inches from toe to crown and the rarest and most beautiful bird in captivity; the Swedish nightingale, Jenny Lind.  

Starring as the legendary circus impresario and unparalleled showman, P.T. Barnum is none other than one of Australia’s own greatest showmen: Todd McKenney. Todd lives up to his reputation with an outstanding performance in the titular role. His dancing skills are put on full display and he again proves to be a triple threat with his impressive singing and acting. A role such as this demands a powerful performer and Todd is exactly that. His continual playful banter with the audience, demonstrating his brilliant comic timing was a stand-out. It is very clear that he has put a lot of work into the preparation of this role, including learning how to walk a tightrope which he does live in every performance.

Starring as the devoted wife of P.T. Barnum, Charity, is legend of Australian stage and screen, Rachael Beck. Suzie Mathers absolutely slays with some high operatic vocals in the role of the Swedish Nightingale, Jenny Lind.

The wider cast, made up of both circus and musical theatre performers are all highly entertaining to watch and do an incredible job in supporting the lead actors with their high energy and infectious enthusiasm. 

The design of the show is terrific and creates a real feeling of attending the circus. Overall the performance is one well worth watching. Children will love Jumbo the elephant and all of the circus acts. However; this is a show that will appeal to people of all ages. BARNUM is fun, witty and makes for a thoroughly entertaining experience.


Where: The Comedy Theatre, Exhibition St. Melbourne

When: Now until June

Photos: Jeff Busby and Jim Lee


By Michael Kent

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