Hugh Jackman thoroughly delights and entertains in a show that celebrates his career – dotted with plenty of personal anecdotes.
Featuring everything from The Greatest Showman to Les Miserables, it would be fair to say that this is show is a musical theatre fan’s idea of heaven – particularly when each song is performed with such charisma by Hugh Jackman, who utilises every talent he possesses to great effect to create an entertaining and warmly received show.
But even if you aren’t familiar with some of the songs that are performed throughout there is still plenty to enjoy, as he recounts stories from his life up until now that have had the most impact on him and shaped what his life is like now. Each story adds a bit of intimacy that isn’t easy to achieve in a huge arena like The O2 and allows Jackman to really connect with the audience.
It is clear that every element of the show has been carefully choreographed to create a slick, energetic and at times emotional show that is a thrill to watch. In particular, the Les Miserables medley was a particularly powerful moment – with Jenna Lee James providing a stunning rendition of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, while Keala Settle got the entire crowd up onto their feet and singing along with a powerful performance of ‘This is Me’. There is also a particularly lovely version of ‘A Million Dreams’ featuring sign language that was genuinely a spine-tingling moment.
There was plenty of warm humour to be found as well, such as during the segment in which Jackman reprised his role from The Boy from Oz – over the top and cheesy but worked well in the overall joy that the show exudes (he was excellent at shaking his maracas as well!).
But it’s Jackman’s performances of classic musical theatre songs in a medley during the second half that really stood out and delighted. Hearing him perform a medley of ‘Luck Be a Lady’, ‘Singing in the Rain’, ‘I Got Rhythm’, ‘Stepping Out with My Baby’ and ‘Sing Sing Sing’ highlighted the smooth and playful qualities to his vocals. Followed by a stunning tap dance routine you get a real sense of why he is such a confident and natural looking stage performer.
Entertaining, delightful and engaging from start to finish, it is a feel-good show with plenty to recommend it.
By Emma Clarendon