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Review of Big Fish The Musical at The Other Palace

BIG FISH. Jamie Muscato 'Story Edward', Clare Burt 'Sandra Bloom', 'Kelsey Grammer 'Edward Bloom' and Laura Baldwin 'Story Sandra. Photo by Tristram Kenton
BIG FISH. Jamie Muscato ‘Story Edward’, Clare Burt ‘Sandra Bloom’, ‘Kelsey Grammer ‘Edward Bloom’ and Laura Baldwin ‘Story Sandra. Photo by Tristram Kenton

Big Fish the Musical is everything a modern musical should be; fresh, exciting, full of warmth and heartbreakingly beautiful. Based on the film of the same name, and currently playing at The Other Palace, the production examines the ever-changing relationships that exist between parents and their children and explores the ways in which our understanding of our parents influences our own identity.

Will Bloom is a seemingly normal man with normal dreams and a normal life. His father Edward, on the other hand, talks of an epic youth with an odyssey of adventures and Herculean style feats. Will longs to separate the man from the myth, but in doing so begins to understand that when it comes to myth and memory, truth is an inconsequential concept – understand the myth and you’ll understand the man.

With Book by John August and score by Andrew Lippa, Director Nigel Harman’s production questions whether we ever really know our parents and utilises the introspection afforded by the genre to look at the way our memories of the past are influenced by our desires for the future.

Brimming with colour and slightly surrealist designs, Big Fish is an ensemble show with an impressively strong cast. Headliner Kelsey Grammer delivers with ease, conveying a presence of assurance and experience to complement the exuberance of the younger members of the company, who bring the heart of the show to life. Grammer’s comic timing is no less than one would expect, and his cheeky portrayal of the eccentric storyteller father is faultless. Likewise, Clare Burt brings a grounded and polished proficiency to her role, effortlessly gracing the stage as Will’s homely mother.

Jamie Muscato in the role of younger Edward radiates boundless energy and a captivating innocence which, when matched with his dynamic vocals and effortless execution of the choreography, places him as a standout in the cast.

In the role of Edward’s son Will, Matthew Seadon-Young delivers a performance filled with conviction that resonates with restlessness and unanswered questions. While the character’s frustrated cynicism is almost incongruent with his age, it balances perfectly with the jovial enthusiasm of his father.

The energy and passion within the ensemble feed the heart of the production and there is a genuine sense of fun within the cast. This is particularly notable in Frances McNamee’s Josephine and Forbes Masson’s Amos who inject ideas of hope, optimism and spontaneity into the story.

From a design and staging perspective, the concepts are simple but elegantly executed and the use of colour adds a quirky edge, complemented by the seamless incorporation of projections.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has spoken at length about his intentions in purchasing The Other Palace, previously St James Theatre, particularly to serve as a safe haven for the development of new musicals and to ensure the longevity of the genre. Productions such as this are testament to his vision and his belief in the modern musical. Big Fish the Musical is a heart-warming, emotionally robust piece that’s sure to send audiences home with an overwhelming sense of joy.

4 stars

Review by Cassandra Griffin

BIG FISH THE MUSICAL is a love story that will take you on an exhilarating and heart-warming journey deep into the heart of what it means to be human. Blending fairy-tale, romance and adventure it celebrates the true meaning of life and reminds us that the love for our family and friends will live on within them, long after we have gone.

Adapted from the much-loved book by Daniel Wallace and Tim Burton movie, BIG FISH THE MUSICAL has a beautiful score by Tony nominee Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family, The Wild Party) and a new book by John August (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

BIG FISH THE MUSICAL will be presented at The Other Palace by Big Fish Productions, Selladoor Worldwide and Baiyue Culture Creative with associate producers Dominic May and Underbelly Productions.

Cast & Creative

Cast
Edward Bloom – Kelsey Grammer
Sandra Bloom – Clare Burt
Will Bloom – Matthew Seadon-Young
Josephine – Frances McNamee
Witch/Jenny Hill – Landi Oshinowo
Amos/Don – Forbes Masson
Karl – Dean Nolan
Story Sandra – Laura Baldwin
Story Edward – Jamie Muscato
Zacky – George Ure
Story Jenny – Tanisha Spring
Mermaid/Librarian – Sophie Linder-Lee
Dr. Bennett/Mayor – Jonathan Stewart
Peggy/Girl With Cat – Gemma McMeel
Boy – Billy Barratt
Boy – Jaxon Knopf
Boy – Colby Mulgrew
 
Creative Team
Original Novel – Daniel Wallace
Book – John August
Music & Lyrics- Andrew Lippa
Director – Nigel Harman
Set & Costume Designer – Tom Rogers
Lighting Designer – Bruno Poet
Projection Designer – Duncan McLean
Sound Designers – Avgoustos Psillas/Luke Swaffield for Autograph
Choreographer – Liam Steel
Casting Director – Stuart Burt CDG
Music Supervisor, Arrangements & Orchestrations – Alan Williams
Musical Director – Alan Berry
Associate Musical Director – Huw Evans
Associate Musical Arranger/Orchestrator – Jerome van den Berghe
Copyist – James Turner
Keyboard Programmer – Phij Adams
Dialect Coach – Danièle Lydon
Associate Director – Ed Stambollouian
Props Supervisor – Lily Mollgaard
Costume Supervisor – Jennie Falconer
Assistant Costume Supervisor – Louise Nipper
Production Manager – Richard Bullimore

LISTINGS
BIG FISH THE MUSICAL
Wednesday 1st November – Saturday 31st December 2017
Twitter and Facebook @londonbigfish
Instagram @londonbigfish
THE OTHER PALACE
12 Palace Street, Westminster, London, SW1E 5JA

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