CONCERT REVIEW: Hugh Jackman ★★★
Hugh Jackman: The Man. The Music. The Show.
02 London Arena
Sunday 2nd - Thursday 6th June 2019
Star of the stage and screen, and best known for his role as Wolverine in the X-Men and standalone series, and P.T Barnum in The Greatest Showman, which 18 months later is still in the Top 10, Hugh Jackman is now on his most ambitious role to date; being himself and opening up his back catalogue on a 90 day tour, which includes 5 nights at the O2. What we as the audience are presented with is a mixture of Broadway, Les Miserables (Oscar nom), a return to Peter Allen, a role from 'The Boy for Oz' which Jackman once won the 2004 Tony award for his performance, and finally a mixture of special guests from the likes of Keala Settle, Robbie Williams, and a bemusing Matt Sterling from the latest series of Britain's got Talent.
Though this is Jackman's show, you can't help but leave the venue feeling more liberated by the supports from the show; Settle's incredibly powerful and liberating 'This is Me' is a true showstopper. The overwhelming emotion clearly brings Settle to tears during the performance and those around her, earning a commendable and deserving standing ovation, whilst Robbie Williams, a legend to show entertainment and a true showman, when partnered with Jackman to sing a under rehearsed rendition of 'Angels' after a hilarious and teasing build-up sends the audience once again into harmony and swaying flashlights and hands in the air. It's a remarkable sight to see from Williams, when Jackman almost stands out as a sore thumb unable to capture otherwise the showmanship when left to his own devices.
The musical medley is stuffed with the old school classics from Guys and Dolls, Singin' in the Rain, and a tap routine from 42nd Street, all with Jackman accompanied on stage from some truly incredible dancers who appear right throughout to join in with the fun, and most notably present an inspiring sign language performance of 'A Million Dreams' in the second act. Sadly though, whilst the first act is all about spectacle, the latter half feels more personal and takes more time to understand the stories behind the music being presented, especially when the wonderful aboriginal music elevates through the venue; it's a spine tingling moment but almost seems worlds away from what we have come to see previous, and disjointed when wedged between more upbeat and toe-tapping tempos.
Overall, is Hugh Jackman the Greatest Showman? I think a lot of people will beg to differ, but does he provide a night out with some truly surprising moments and a great personality with care for this audience's attention? Absolutely. Though not big on spectacle with flashing lights, his heart is often more than not dedicated to his art form.