SSE Hydro, Glasgow Tour until June 7th
"I'm shameless," says Hugh Jackman, and who should we argue about? The opening night of his world tour is still young and his male antipodal chest is already jumping out of his shirt.
Later he will slowly dance with an obsessed audience and make good dedications to his wife and children. With all the things the sociable Australian is good at, the only thing that really sets him apart is Hugh Jackman.
Either modesty or a Hollywood lawyer probably prevented him from subtitling this tour The Greatest Showman. He has starred in dozens of hit films and award-winning stage musicals, but it is the phenomenal success of the 2017 film that is based on the life of Pt Barnum and has enabled Jackman to play six nights at O2 next month.
To date, Auto-Tuned Belters' soundtrack album has sold seven million copies.
Hugh Jackman makes sporadic visits to the Big Top as he has to tonight, however The largest showman It turns out to be a Trojan horse
Jackman makes sporadic visits to the Big Top as he has to tonight, however The largest showman It turns out to be a Trojan horse. Supported by 20 musicians, ten dancers, and a local church choir, this budgeted blowout is a hurricane through the history of easy post-war entertainment.
A monologue carousel. A mini Les Mis Set piece. A dazzling tribute to the golden age of the screen. Tap dance. Mack the knife. A rhythmic mash-up of rock songs. It's all here, flawlessly executed, although a section in which Jackman camped out as the later Australian songwriter Peter Allen is too quick to settle for the wide comedy of raised eyebrows and persistent wiggle.
The mood never calms down, but Jackman offers a charismatic fix point. He acknowledges his sex symbol status with humor, balances Schmaltz with blokey directness and projects carefully choreographed intimacy by combining songs with key moments in his life.
A mini Les Mis Set piece. A dazzling tribute to the golden age of the screen. Tap dance. Mack the knife. A rhythmic mash-up of rock songs. Everything is here, perfectly executed
All the Way was the first dance at his wedding; Gaston triggers a self-ironic reminder of the audition for Beauty and the Beast. Although his voice has a slightly scratchy nasal quality, he is a solid singer and hooves with grace and enthusiasm.
Some of the most memorable moments happen when the star shines the spotlight. Keala Settle (Lettie Lutz in The largest showman) brings the house with a stormy rendition of This is me.
Later, after Jackman told of a life-changing trip to the outback, two didgeridoo players and two indigenous singers play a powerful Aboriginal song.
A less generous artist might fear being staged, but Jackman hardly seems to be the unsure guy – and for good reason. He may not be the biggest showman, but he turns out to be an accomplished entertainer with charm to burn.
This week's CD will be released
By Adam Woods
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