Big Fish first premiered in 2013, based on Daniel Wallace’s 1998 novel and Tim Burton’s 2003 film. The show centres around the Bloom family, focusing on the relationship between father Edward, and son, Will.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland are in their 18th year of producing musical theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe, and this year their production of Big Fish is a full-scale ensemble show. Unlike most fringe shows this has a full band, a huge cast, props, set, and a multitude of costumes.
Tom Cooper’s direction is tight, and the show has momentum throughout, there’s just a small faltering in pacing toward the end, but I feel this is due to the material – the ending feels rather drawn out – rather than direction. The stage is completely full for the musical numbers, with so much going on at times you’re not sure where to look.
The score is exquisite, and the band perform this spectacularly – although, there are some moments in which the dialogue is drowned out by the sound of the band.
Claire Halleran’s costumes are varied and plentiful. She brings the supernatural aspects of the show to life, with cohesive and effective designs. Characters are dressed in scrubs for a large part of the show, and I understand budget and time restrictions, but I feel a shirt or jacket thrown over these would have better concealed the hospital-wear look.
To the side of the stage is a desk which is used to make sound effects – whilst inventive additions, this is at times distracting to what is happening on stage.
This is an excellent production of Big Fish – it is exciting to see fresh new talent, and the performance standard is incredibly high across the board; with stand out performances coming from Liam Bradbury, Zachary Ammon Peterson, and Linzi Devers – the latter of which displays sensational vocals. This production has a West End polish to it, and is a great way to start your day at the Fringe!
Since its Broadway premiere in 1976, Pacific Overtures has become a surprising addition to the musical theatre canon. Telling the story of Japan’s isolationist foreign policy transformed in 1853 by the arrival of American forces was and is not traditional musical theatre fare. Nor is the manner of telling; writers Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, coupled with original director Hal Prince, sought to tell this as a Japanese story with techniques borrowed from kabuki and with music structured around fourths, rather than Western triads. Although relatively little known within Sondheim’s body of work, it is one of his most ambitious … More PACIFIC OVERTURES – REVIEW – MENIER CHOCOLATE FACTORY
Following on from a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, this boy band Christmas music has made its way to the Seven Dials Playhouse. With an obvious influence from Dickens’ classic Christmas story, Chris Kirkpatrick is visited by an Angel – Marky Mark and is allowed to make a wish. What follows is an hour of boy band fun. Yes, this plot might sound crazy… but it ain’t no lie. The plot is rather thin on the ground, and whilst at times the production really leans into the weird and hilarious, so much about it could be made bigger. The … More CHRISKIRKPATRICKMAS – REVIEW – SEVEN DIALS PLAYHOUSE
The infamous Sh!t Faced Showtime are back in London with a festive edition, they have taken Dickens’ classic and put a drunken spin on it. The formula is the same as other iterations of the Shi!t Faced shows, one member of the cast has been boozing, and this time it is John Milton who plays Scrooge. Before the show, half a bottle of Jim Beam, some wine, and beer have been consumed in the previous 4 hours. The rest of the cast, try to keep the show on track, also aided by James Murfitt as the compere, Charles Dickens. The … More A PISSEDMAS CAROL – REVIEW – LEICESTER SQUARE
Spine-tingling yet heart-warming, Mark Gatiss’s retelling of A Christmas Carol truly encapsulates the haunting atmosphere of a Victorian ghost story, balanced out with enough humour so as to capture the festive season. Led by Keith Allen as Scrooge, with Peter Forbes as Marley, this show is perfect for Christmas viewing. The set design by Paul Wills is instantly captivating, containing stacks of metal cabinets towering over the theatre, moveable by the cast to allow space for other central props like doors, beds and tables. In addition to this, the puppetry design by Matthew Forbes is incredibly clever, adding creepy elements to the show such … More A CHRISTMAS CAROL – REVIEW – ALEXANDRA PALACE
The title of this winner of Theatre 503’s 2023 International Playwriting Award by Roxy Cook may seem like the set-up to a joke, but the narrative that unspools is instead an affectionate, gently barbed and at base quite sobering portrait of three ordinary souls (and one restless feline) adrift in modern Moscow. There is much affable, satirical back-and-forth commentary on the accepted myths & stereotypes of the Russian spirit & soul. Beset by the indignities of age, opportunism, graft, fatigue, the characters orbit one another, doomed to play out their roles in an unjust, predatory and saturnine universe. The play opens … More A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BANK – REVIEW – THEATRE503