OUR brightest young musical theatre talent lifted the canvas off the big top in their latest production, Barnum.

Warrington’s acclaimed CODYS took on their most ambitious show and, boy, did the risk pay off.

While the king of humbug P.T. Barnum used lies to attract his crowds, no such flim-flammery was required at Runcorn’s Brindley theatre, where audiences were treated to a stunning production.

Back in the public consciousness thanks to The Greatest Showman movie, Barnum’s is a fascinating story.

He built his entertainment empire on the art of humbug – these days we might call it ‘spin’ – and coined the slogan ‘the greatest show on earth’, as well as creating the template for the modern touring circus.

CODYS employed the talents of the Circus House in Manchester to teach the youngsters the myriad big-top skills required to stage the show.

What a triumph they have become accomplished jugglers, stilt-walkers, diabolo-jugglers, plate-spinners, acrobats and dancers.

The most impressive feat – and feet – belonged to Barnum, played with great confidence and zeal by Clayton Roberts.

When he tightrope-walked across the stage the audience erupted into spontaneous applause.

The new generation of CODYS stars is coming to the fore, and worth a mention are Mollie Neal as Joice Heth, Isaac Hartill as Tom Thumb, Erin Smith as Jenny Lind, and particularly Sophia Thomson who played Barnum’s wife, Charity.

As always, I have nothing but admiration for director and producer Nick Cupit and his brilliant team for creating a show that many a lesser company would consider unstageable. But then, CODYS never shy away from a challenge and they were justly rewarded for their bravery.

CODYS turn to the feelgood, evergreen crowd pleaser Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for their spring 2019 production.

Don’t miss it.