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The Greatest Showman and his Troupe of Misfits

The Greatest Showman as presented by Hugh Jackman is the perfect antidote to January. Based on the life of P.T Barnum and his travelling circus, fizzling with colour, musical numbers that really only Hugh Jackman can deliver in his razzmatazz style and passion. We meet Barnum, orphaned at a young age rise above his adverse poverty to marry his childhood sweetheart and establish his circus company become very wealthy and rise up in society well to an extent. Despite his success, he isn’t fully accepted into the higher echelons of New York society and so his inner shortcoming is the desire to be seen as respectable and not just a well-oiled machine exploiting the “Freaks” that he has gathered and puts on display. Although of course, the Hollywood twist on this circus is opportunity and equality for all, unlikely to be the case in real life, but nevertheless a worthy…

Yasuke: The Black Samurai

Yasuke was of black African origin and who served under the Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga in 1581 and 1582, as a Samurai. According to historical accounts, Yasuke may have been a Muslim who originated from Mozambique,  Portugal, Angola or Ethiopia.  Described as healthy and good-looking with a pleasant demeanour, tall (at least 6 ft. 2 in.) and had a very strong, and intimidating presence.  Yasuke quickly rose through the ranks becoming Nobunaga’s chief warrior and was given his own residence and a ceremonial katana by Nobunaga. Nobunaga eventually made Yasuke his bodyguard and a samurai in 1581 and was stationed at Nobunaga’s Azuchi Castle. Mitsuhide, who was one of Nobunaga’s trusted vassals, who later went onto to betray his Lord at Honnōji, dismissed Yasuke as “a beast” and not a true samurai because he wasn’t Japanese. Yasuke offered his sword to Mitsuhide, as was customary, and returned to the service of the…