Phineas Taylor Barnum accurately portrays this definition of a humbug in the Fullerton College musical "Barnum. "
Directed by Gary Krinke, "Barnum" is playing in the Bronwyn Dodson Theatre through Saturday.
P.T. Barnum had the traveling soul of a runaway circus man and entertained everyone no matter where he went.
Played by actor Tom O'Toole, Barnum takes the whole show into his hands with a little bit of wit, wisdom, and some con-artist spirit. He brings spectacles to his circus such as"the oldest woman alive" to "the smallest man in the world" and convinced the audience to believe the world as he saw it.
Barnum works side-by-side with his wife Chairy, played by actress Karen V. Cuny, and the excitement never ends.Taking opposite stances on every issue, the two never agree on circus plans but miraculously balance each other out and get things accomplished in a comical manner.
Barnum and Chairy continue to work together and decide to construct a museum so Barnum can sucker more people into paying to see his tricky displays.
"The oldest woman alive,"played by actress Rosalind Johnson, and "Thom Thumb,"played by actor Sean McNall, are a few of Barnum's unusual attractions which entertain his audience until Swedish singer (and seductress), Miss Jenny Lind, played by actress Jennifer Rosengarth, steals the limelight.
Miss Lind's striking features and beautiful voice lure Barnum's interests. He decides to travel with Miss Lind, "The Swedish Nightengale," boosting her singing career as he courts her abroad. All the while faithful Chairy waits at home for Barnum.
After a few months, Barnum returns to Chairy, only to realize how important she is to him.
The grand finale is not complete without Barnum meeting Mr. Bailey, played by actor Matt Tully, they form Barnum and Bailey's circus, "the Greatest Show on Earth."
Clearly the most entertaining aspects of this musical are the dance and acrobatic scenes.
Consisting of cartwheels, jumps, leaps and flips, these aspects of the play are the most impressive performances providing cast members with opportunities to display their gymnastic talents.
Lights of red, orange and yellow paint the stage with enthusiasm, vivacity and energy reflecting the emotions of the scenes.Clown costumes, polka-dots, and speckled sequins added to the devil-may-care tone of this musical.
Balloons falling onto the stage, confetti, and streams of lights dangling across stage and highlighting "the Greatest Show on Earth" sign are props which create a life-like circus atmosphere. The acrobatic swing which hangs from the stage and the tightrope stretched across the stage keep the audience on edge, especially during Barnum's tightrope walk scene.
There were a few technical difficulties during the March 19 performance having to do with the microphones, which were a problem during most of the play, but the song numbers made up for this and were as light and carefree as Barnum's personality.
Judging by the convincing acting, it is apparent that all of the efforts on behalf of the cast and crew make Barnum"< a beaming success. The performance is extraordinary.