Photo credit: http://www.ambernightdvd.com/wordpress/2011/06/08/doctor-who-john-barrowman-return/john-barrowman-an-2/
I have just returned from seeing John Barrowman live at the London Palladium. As is happening with increasing frequency, I was not going to talk about this show at all but, having seen it, I really feel I must!
I booked to see this because so many people in the social networking world had talked about how amazing John Barrowman was live, and how delightful a person he was.
To summarise this show in a nutshell, it is the perfect antidote to the blues brought on by the current economic climate and the recession. It is a feelgood show. John Barrowman is of course a musical theatre superstar and so I had assumed that the show would be John Barrowman performing song and dance numbers. The truth is that this show is so much more than that!
John Barrowman does do the song and dance numbers, yes. But he also talks about his life, including as a gay man, his family; he speaks about all the people who are important to him. He uses a lot of personal photos of his partner Scott and his family generally. He tells stories from his personal life in a really engaging and touching and heartfelt way. He basically puts himself and his life up on the stage, warts and all, saying "I am what I am", take me or leave me.
Ruby Wax is currently on tour in a show where she talks about mental health and, specifically, her experience of depression. People say that she is brave to talk about her personal experience of depression. But what she has done is take her mental health issue and turn it into a stand-up routine. Some of it is true, some of it not. You cannot really tell how much of it is true and how much of herself she is giving away on stage.
With John Barrowman he is really revealing himself and all his strengths and frailties on the stage. He is centre stage, loud and proud, talking about himself, his personal stories, and his life. He is actually asking you to enjoy and celebrate his life with him. Good on him! I think it is the most honest thing I have seen on the stage and not at all what I was expecting. To reveal yourself on stage like that is a very brave thing to do and I admire him for it.
Being an honest person, honest with myself and others, and having a level of integrity is actually what I have been working on over the last year with my mentors. The results have been very mixed. I have had real stars come into my life, people who I thank God every day for; people who I am very lucky to have in my life full stop. But it has also resulted in several car crashes. Overall, I would argue that it has been worth it, but it is a long and a hard road to follow.
Finally, I must give out a shout out to John Barrowman's backing dance group and the whole of his band - they both made the show what it is.