By Kathleen Walker
Possibly the biggest film hit of 2017/2018, The Greatest Showman found universal appeal after a rocky start with the critics. However, fans have not let the hype die, with the soundtrack being one of the biggest music sellers of last year and still conjuring up vivid imagery thanks to three little words, This Is Me.
Now, Sing-a-Long-a Productions have brought the film back to screens around the country for special sing-a-long showings, reigniting the passion for the film once again. There are certain musical films that have gone down in history as being impossible not to sing along to – I defy you not to join Julie Andrews in singing My Favourite things in The Sound of Music, another of Sing-a-Long-a’s often touring productions. When the original Showman Cardiff tour date sold out in February, it was clear of the demand for further dates, resulting in two more performances selling out at St. David’s Hall today.
If you’ve never experienced a sing-along performance, I would encourage you to go. You do not have to be a great singer, just willing to join in, regardless of whether you have never seen the film before (where have you been?) or have seen it a million times. The film was introduced by our very own bearded-lady, welcoming us and acting as the film’s warm-up act. With the audience comprising of families, with many children and adults dressing up for the occasion, there was an extremely warm and friendly atmosphere. Then there’s the goody bag. Every Sing-a-Long-a screening features a goody bag, containing everything each audience member will need to participate throughout the screening. The Greatest Showman bag comprised of a clacker, glow stick, party popper, paper doily and ticket to P T Barnum’s show. It was quickly explained how we would use each piece at key moments throughout the film. Then came the short dance routines…no need to panic as they were not full routines, but definitely Steps inspired (for 90s pop music fans)! There’s also no need to panic if you don’t know every single word, as all the words appear clearly across the bottom of the screen throughout the film, meaning there is no pressure if you are not a word-perfect super fan!
After inviting all dressed up over-18s on-stage to show off their outfits, the audience were suitably hyped up and ready to watch the film. It might all sound a bit silly, but we found ourselves easily getting in the spirit and by doing so you get more out of the event. You only had to look around at adults and children alike dancing and singing along with smiling faces, utterly lost in the film magic, to want to get involved and share the joy.
I love musicals so may have seen the film just a few times, but still found myself with goose bumps singing along to A Million Dreams and Never Enough whilst waving a glow stick in the air. It’s hard not to get swept up in the emotion along with the rest of the audience. There was even a little boy, dressed as P T Barnum complete with top hat and cane, sat a few seats in front of us that did not miss a beat and instantly got to his feet to sing and dance along to every single song. The film is already filled with brilliant soaring show tunes, yet getting to sing them in an auditorium full of people lifts your soul even higher. Being surrounded by an audience wielding multi-coloured glow sticks probably also adds to the ambience.
Do not be afraid to join in – I would encourage everyone to go to a sing-a-long screening at some point, because in this gloomy age, it’s the tonic that you need to regain some fun and take some time away from assignment and exam stress.