Date 20th July 2018
Society Llandudno Youth Music Theatre
Director Anne Davenport
Musical Director Philip M Jones & Catrin Wright
Choreographer Linzi Grace, Bethan Lloyd, Anne Davenport, Kate Russell, Calista Frangos


Author: Jackie Titley for Lyn Emmerson

What a privilege to be invited to this 40th birthday production. Your President, Lyn, I know is so proud of what you have achieved over the years. I guess even Philip and Margaret Jones never envisaged quite such a huge succession of members have been privileged to be members of LYMT.
Barnum was certainly the musical to choose to give so many members the opportunity to perform and learn such a diversity of skills – juggling (with fire), stilt walking, tightrope walking to name but a few. All executed confidently. I bet they had some fun practising.
LYMT perform on a large stage and they managed to fill it all comfortably with excellent scenery and very clever scene changes and larger than life characters. The costume team must have worked overtime to produce so many superb costumes. Invariably there are too many to mention individually but congratulations to everyone.
Amy Beecher (Holly Morrissey) opened the show with a strong voice and set the scene for the evening to come. Then the entrance of Phineas Barnum (Joshua Davies). What a huge part this is and Joshua played it confidently throughout. Trampolining up the scenery to join Charity (Katie Haywood) was the first of many athletic surprises from all of the cast. Tightrope walking whilst singing is no mean feat. Well done Joshua. Charity, a very mature performance, and Barnum supported each other through the changes of life and pace. Very comfortable to listen to. Joice Heth (Calista Frangos) with her rendition of ‘Thank God I’m Old’ gave an energetic portrayal of the character – wouldn’t we all love to have energy at her “supposed” age?  The Ringmaster (James Hutin) also gave a strong performance and was very much in charge of activities. Jenni Lind (Faye Bate), your own Llandudno nightingale, makes an entrance at the End of Act 1 and changes Barnum’s life when he takes her on tour.
There were many huge parts in Barnum along with many cameo parts that kept our interest throughout. What was coming next? An example of this was a clowns’ session “The suitcase slapstick” which was devised by members at improvisation sessions. It was very convincing and I was impressed with its execution. The 3 scarf dancers in the ‘Colours of My Life’ reprise also set their own choreography.
The creative team under the overall direction of Anne Davenport obviously really motivated everyone; workshops to develop circus skills were organised by Nicki Hill, Kieran Jones and Gilbert Gillan. Our first introduction to these was the young fire-eater outside the theatre, our first glimpse of the Ringmaster.
There were many dancing numbers in the show which must have challenged the choreographers, but the cast executed them confidently. What a huge amount of talent on that stage, no doubt a hobby or, of course, a profession which must lie ahead for the youngsters. Congratulations everyone. It was a joyous evening.