John Barrowman’s tour titled ‘fabulous’ is only at the St David’s Hall for two nights (one of which sold out a few days after the tickets were released) and I would advise that if you haven’t already, and if there are tickets available, to book a ticket to this fantastic celebration of Barrowman’s career. I would consider John to be one of the worlds greatest entertainers who managed to perfectly balance the flamboyance/campiness of his personality with serious and heartfelt messages to the audience. Throughout the show, he discussed important themes such as same-sex marriage, the importance of family, mental health and how to be a spokesperson who those without a metaphorical voice. John presents himself as a very caring and down to earth guy who uses his celebrity status to raise awareness of these important issues which is great to see. Going into the show I was expecting camp and over-the-top musical numbers (which definitely did happen) but I was not expecting to get so emotional at points in his concert. All of his song choices were incredible but his rendition of a thousand years (which he dedicated to love) was phenomenal and I always forget that John is, in fact, a very talented singer which he showcased throughout and especially during this song. Many of the other songs I did not know and I think this would have been due to my age but I still enjoyed them and thought that John performed them excellently.
Between his fantastic songs, he told stories about his careers including a very interesting retrospective view of all his musical and tv credits. On top of this, he also had photo memories of key points in his life on the projector which was really nice to see. But the thing that took over his stories was an unexpected phone call from one of the audience members. During one of the stories, Barrowman noticed a man in the front row on his phone. After a comical quip to him he was told that he was expecting his grandson to be born soon (which did, in fact, turn out to be a slight exaggeration) but Barrowman asked to record a message for the baby which was very funny and had the entire audience laughing but he also managed to face-time the mum to be.
John did bring with him some special guest to perform some of his songs including his own parents and his husband. The segment of the show which involved his parents started off hilariously funny with his dad cracking funny stories and euphemisms but once this settled down his mum delivered an emotional rendition the wedding (ava maria) which was touching and received a standing ovation from every single audience member. This was followed by a song by John’s husband Scott who was amazing to watch although he was slightly nervous and uncomfortable. Clearly, talent runs in the family and Scott is no exception. What I thought was the closing number of the show was a song about and dedicated to Scotland which is logical in the sense that it is where John grew up but I didn’t think this was a fitting end to the show and luckily this was not the end. He did, in fact, end the entire show with a fantastic rendition of I am what I am from From La Cage aux Folles which was great as it is a song I, and everyone else in the audience knew the words to and as this was one of the few times the audience sang and danced along it was a fitting end. He hinted at this ending right at the beginning of the show were he talked about his love for the musical and so that was a nice way to tie the entire show together.
In general, this is a Fabulously fun filled show, crammed full with superb songs and fantastic stories, that celebrate the life and career of John Barrowman, whilst also addressing important issues. Every single person in the audience could relate to one of John’s stories and this allowed the show to become personal, as well as entertaining and fun. The only thing to note is that John really enjoys euphemisms and this show is definitely not family friendly. I would rate this concert 5 out of 5 stars and would encourage you to grab tickets if there are any available for his final night in Cardiff tonight!