John Barrowman, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, Thursday June 21, Review by James Hanley
Clichéd though it may be, some people seem born to entertain.
Few could argue that John Barrowman doesn’t fit that description - least of all the man himself - and tonight he’s in his element: on stage in front of an adoring, if damp, crowd thanks to a pre-show downpour.
The Torchwood star begins with a rallying cry: “Hello wet Scarborough. I want to thank you all for coming, you are the brave ones but because you are brave I am going to give you a good night of singing.”
Accompanied by a seven-piece band including a brass section, the opener “Hollywood is Dead” is a little lacklustre, it’s on the ballads and the musical theatre numbers that the eternally-youthful 45-year-old truly sparkles - literally in fact, thanks to a trio of stunning suits.
Take That’s “Greatest Day”, “You Raise Me Up” and an appropriate finale of “I Am What I Am” are among the highlights of the near two-hour concert.
Yes it’s schmaltzy, and there’s more innuendo than a Carry On film, but few modern stars engage with their audience so easily and effectively.
Making light of the unique venue, he laughs: “I can’t hear a word you are saying because there is a moat between us!”
On that note, it’s just a shame that once again the Open Air Theatre fell a long way short of capacity, the task of finding acts big enough to fill 6,500 seats continuing to prove problematic.
Barrowman would surely have comfortably filled the Spa or Futurist, and recognises as much with his parting vow: “I’ll definitely come back to Scarborough but next time, I’ll do it indoors.”