Review: Hugh Jackman at Manchester Arena

The Man. The Music. The Show- this is the name Hugh Jackman has given to his first world tour but I can say from experience, it was so much more than that.

The Greatest Showman star proved to be exactly that – a great showman– after a 3-hour spectacle which left me in tears on several occasions.

He kicked things off with two crowd favourites, ‘The Greatest Show’ and ‘Come Alive’, both packed full of energy and theatrics, as you’d expect from a circus-inspired performance. Embodying the character of P.T.Barnum himself, it felt very authentic; however, it’s important to note that the entire show didn’t revolve around his most recent success.

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Tonight …. Manchester!!!

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He explored every defining moment in his career, from his first major role as Gaston in the stage depiction of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ to his Tony Award-winning role as Peter Allen in ‘The Boy from Oz’.

Hugh was very much a performer that night, but his moving tribute to his wife Deborra-Lee Furness and stories about his childhood reminded the crowd that he is still an ordinary man driven by hopes and dreams, like the rest of us. Following this stunning speech with ‘A Million Dreams’, it couldn’t have been more appropriate.

Unlike most shows I’ve been to, Hugh took the time to introduce nearly every member of his team, even dedicating 10 minutes to two members of his orchestra who happened to be fellow Mancunians- representing!

Despite being the star of the show, he spent most of the night congratulating others which was really refreshing to see. He is as famous as they come, but still remembered the names of every single person on his team – I loved that.

My favourite moment, and everyone else’s by the sounds of things, was Keala Settle’s surprise performance of ‘This Is Me’. After a really heartfelt introduction from Hugh- who spoke about the moment when she deservedly won the role of Lettie Lutz – I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house after her empowering and spectacular performance.

Soppiness aside, it wasn’t all wobbly lips and lumps in throats- he was actually really funny and charismatic too which shone through his dialogue with the crowd. Yeah some of his one-liners may have been scripted, but so what?

I was genuinely creased, especially when he selected an unsuspecting man from the audience and grinded on him, so touché Hugh, you obviously got your sense of humour from your time in the UK.

Although I was slightly distracted by how great his bum looked for the duration of the concert, his dancing was yet another highlight- especially during his rendition of ‘Singing in the Rain’, ‘Luck Be a Lady’ and his tap dancing sequence to Earth Wind and Fire’s, ‘September’ (my favourite song, ever!) I mean, is there anything he can’t do?

Truthfully, I was a bit confused when I learned about Hugh Jackman’s tour because it just seemed a bit unusual to me. However, after seeing such a colourful, wild, energetic, stunning hybrid of cinema, theatre and music, I stand corrected.

So is he first and foremost an actor, singer or a dancer? Well some might have their opinions on the matter but if you ask me, he is all of the above in equal measure.

I cannot think of a more talented, humble and deserving performer.

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