A Few of My Favourite Things: Barnum's Brian Conley

Tom Hanks, Wild Boar and theatre cats feature in Mr Conley’s favourite things

© Johan Persson

Brian Conley is currently starring in the national tour of Cameron Mackintosh and Chichester Festival Theatre's production of Barnum.

You can find out more about the show and buy tickets by clicking here.

We caught up with Brian to find out a few of his favourite things…

What/who is your favourite…


One of the films I've watched a lot is Castaway with Tom Hanks. I just think it's a brilliant film, I love some of the stories, the way he prepared for it. Obviously he was very large at the beginning and then they do that wonderful shot where it just pans away at the end and suddenly you realise he's been there a year and he's just a tiny beanpole full of muscle. They stopped filming for a year so he could lose the weight and build the muscle and in order to keep the crew they all went off and shot another film and came back a year later.

Place to hangout in London?

They Savoy. I've stayed there quite a few times over the years, I love the Art Deco design.


Rules, round the back of the Adelphi. It was Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill's favourite restaurant. It's a really old beautiful, beautiful historic place with wonderful pictures on the walls. There's a private room upstairs which I hired for my birthday once. I once tried the Wild Boar there, it was great. It's just by the stage door of the Adelphi, I found it when I was doing Me and My Girl there.

Holiday destination?

One of the nicest I've been on is St Barts in the French Caribbean. I took my wife there on our honeymoon, it's beautiful. When we got to the beach, there was a load of commotion and I looked over and there was a load of gorgeous naked models doing a photoshoot, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven! I wouldn't go back though because you have to get on a tiny four seater plane, that was scary. The pilot was also the local postman, so we had to deliver parcels to other islands!

Play/Musical that you have seen?

Cirque Du Soleil's Ka at the MGM in Las Vegas. It was the most spectacular show I've ever seen. It took them a year and a half to build the arena specifically for this show. They had speakers in the backs of the seat, so you had your own sound. I've seen many great shows, but that one just blew me away.

Theatre to work in?

London Palladium without a doubt, it's one of the greatest theatres in the world. Although it's a big venue, the circle juts right out and you just see a sea of heads, it's very intimate. It's quite surprising how many mice there are in the place though, because there's no theatre cats anymore. WhatsOnStage should start a petition to bring back theatre cats (WOS: We agree, bring back Cats to the Palladium…oh wait)

Moment in ''Barnum''

I'd have to say the high wire is one of my highlights, I never thought I'd learn a new skill at this age. I had special shoes made and it took me seven months to learn, before we even started rehearsals I was practising it three times a week. Now I'm eight foot up in the air with no safety net or wires. I've broken a finger and my foot, I was on crutches for the first two weeks of rehearsals.