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John Barrowman (Tour - Manchester)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Musical theatre sensation, talent judge and TV star John Barrowman certainly knows how to draw in a crowd.

His latest tour sees him performing a collection of some of the best (and albeit cheesiest) numbers of all times, ranging from Eurovision classics to Michael Buble’s "Hollywood", to an auditorium full of fans.

His slower numbers, such as Barry Manilow’s "Mandy" and his signature tune - "I Am What I Am" are by far the show-stoppers of the evening, gaining the most vigorous applause from the audience on the night I attended. But whilst his energy and enthusiasm don’t fail to appease, there is something missing in terms of electricity.

The performer’s attempts at ‘stand-up’ are, at times, cringeworthy, at others they advocate his quick wit and vibrant personality. Although there are, most definitely, more hits than misses, certain aspects of the show could be tightened. Again, his backing team, J4, are fantastic dancers, and the singing they do is pleasing enough, but the blocking of some of their routines could do with a polish, to avoid amateur mistakes being made.

And the costumes... well, they definitely add to the ‘camp’ of the show, but the gold lycra and glitter galore can occasionally cheapen the stunning vocals of Barrowman.

Any avid musical theatre goer will be delighted with the news that Jodie Prenger, winner of BBC’s I’d Do Anything is the support act for the evening. Despite the fact her delivery does sometimes border on being too cabaret, her duet of Enchanted’s "So Close" with the star himself is worth the ticket price alone.

Tonight’s not the night to search for perfection and spectacle, but it’s most definitely worth attending for it’s sheer escapism and fun.

- Rebecca Cohen


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