There is no doubt that London audiences have high expectations when they go to see new writing. It’s a competitive category, and shows are nurtured and shaped over long periods of time; countless workshops and rewrites occur before a musical is ready for a London stage. Therefore, audiences expect a fairly high standard once a show is presented at this point, and unfortunately Big Shot falls slightly short of the mark.
There is a good foundation that can definitely be seen. However, not enough work has been done on top of this in certain areas, which would allow the show to reach it’s full potential. Therefore, it lacked the pace and energy to keep the audience fully engaged.
The aspect that needs the most work is the script. The songs are beautiful and the band are fantastic but the energy is dropped in scenes that offer only exposition and constantly sign post to the audience what we are meant to be taking note of, which makes the story very predictable. This is present in the lighting choices as well, red filters for the villain seem unnecessary. Understandably this may have been done to make up for the lack of set, but the show needs to trust it can do the job with just the story itself, as well as trusting the audience to engage enough with the story that they don’t need to be spoon fed. It leaves the characters at times one dimensional and many of the actors struggle to engage with their characters, as the text is more focused on demonstrating the story than allowing the actors to tell it.
Lauryn Gaffney’s gorgeous score is one of the driving forces behind this show and demonstrates that this piece really does have the potential to compete with celebrated new musicals, if the slightly weaker areas are strengthened. I looked forward to the talented band starting up, however at times I found myself wishing that it didn’t have to pick up the energy that was dropped a lot in the scenes. It was also used slightly awkwardly in scene changes, and the music hasn’t quite solidified its style, but when it does, it really has the potential to dominate its niche.
The text however, is at its best when we see it utilised by some of the more impressive actors, so I must assume that actually, there perhaps is less work to do than may appear to the eye. One of these actors, who is a star in the making is Donal Brennan (Jeremy).
His moments alone on stage accompanied by the fantastic band is when you really see the story come alive. These were the moments I could sit back and really connect with the story and were my favourite parts of the show. I think that with fine tuning, this could be a consistent effect, and make for a really engaging piece of theatre.
Cormac O’Broin plays Rick, the villain extremely well. Unfortunately in Act One his character isn’t featured as much and therefore isn’t as well established as he could have been. Yet, in Act Two, particularly in the song during the court scene which he leads, we get a real insight into his character and I would love to see more of him and the role featured if the show has a rewrite. Like Brennan, his voice perfectly suits the gorgeous score and again we see a glimmer of the great show it could be.
I would happily and eagerly return to this show in the future once it is developed and fine tuned. It perhaps was not quite in the place in needed to be to really wow a London audience but I believe with some work, Big Shot has the potential to become a great success. I hope and believe this is a show that we haven’t heard the last of.
Review by Kara Taylor Alberts
Big Shot tells the story of one Jeremy Crocker, a savvy defense lawyer thriving in New York City’s bustling legal profession. Despite his ambitions, Crocker falls in love with Carrie, struggling Irish artist who works in Crocker’s go-to café in Downtown Manhattan. Although the two become ever more infatuated by each other, this threatens to derail Crocker’s career, with regard to the dubious new defense case he has taken on. Does Crocker follow his heart or stick with his legal client obligations? The theme of the story is love, justice and living in the moment.
What’s A Man To Do Big Shot The Musical
With a blend of energetic and poignant songs and a suitable amount of drama one would expect of a Broadway-style musical, Big Shot is an exposition of original Irish composition and writing that simply cannot be missed.
Booking to 20th August 2016