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Hooked on Every Line: “Big Fish” Review

Roar writer Kiren Graziano reviews “Big Fish”, a recent production from the King’s Musical Theatre Society.

John August and Andrew Lippa’s “Big Fish”, directed by Katie-Ann Miles and Zahi Negyal, was performed by the King’s Musical Theatre Society last weekend in the Greenwood Theatre. A fun and wondrous production, “Big Fish” was a definite success. I, along with the rest of the audience, was thoroughly entertained, taking in the elaborate dance routines and charming southern drawls on stage.

The musical, set in Alabama, tells the story of a son, Will Bloom (Lucas George), trying to unravel who his father, Edward Bloom, really is behind all of his tall tales. We see present day Edward Bloom (Sam Rattue) facing his mortality, and we see his younger self (Bex Harrison) through the lens of Edward’s fantastical stories. From mythic creatures to biblical floods and heart-warming love stories; “Big Fish” has something for everyone. 

With the nature of this show being so magical, the production team had a big task to bring stories of giants, witches and mermaids to life; I have to say they hit the nail on the head. The costumes, the set design, and the lighting allowed the audience to fully believe all of Edward’s epic tales. 

The costumes immersed the audience in the stories that Edward spun, and they helped to clearly differentiate the characters across the different timelines. The costuming not only helped show the audience who was who, but it also allowed for actors of different genders and ethnicities to play the same character at different points. 

Something has to be said for the set design and lighting as well. The lighting that was used to visualise the flood and the daffodils hanging from the catwalk showed the audience that a lot of attention to detail was paid to the atmosphere of the show. Producer, Matthew Smith, and the crew have a lot to be proud of with how this musical turned out. 

Now, I can’t review this show without mentioning the music and choreography. The music in this show was carried out beautifully by the cast and the band. Solos from present day Edward, his wife (Rachel Tudor), and Will were extremely emotional and sounded fantastic. These were only a few of the musical moments that stood out to me, the entire cast and band did an amazing job with the songs in the show. Musical director Eve Millward deserves a massive congratulations.

The dancing in the production was also noteworthy. The principal dancers, Kai Patel, Lydia Riggs, Hannah Livesey-Feather, and Amy Deng did incredibly well with each number. The fire and water dances performed by Kai Patel and Louisa Scott were my personal favourites. Louisa, the choreographer, should be immensely proud of her work on this show.  

Additionally, the acting in this production was phenomenal. As someone from the southern United States, I can say the cast did a great job with their Alabama accents, and the level of kitschiness was spot on. Not only did the cast pull out fantastic southern drawls, but they also created some really emotional moments. In the midst of Edward’s wild stories, the audience saw some heart-warming and heart-breaking moments of vulnerability. From the heated fight between Edward and his son at the wedding to the tragic song sung by Edward’s wife Sandra, this show had its fair share of passionate scenes. And yet, “Big Fish” still managed to be a feel-good show. It struck that balance between emotional and fun that is oftentimes hard to find. 

“Big Fish” was a funny and heart-warming show. I had a great time watching the fantastical stories play out and was impressed by the whole production. The King’s Musical Theatre Society should be proud of the show that they have put on.

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