Mention musicals and most people think big stage, big cast, big budget. They run for big seasons with big advertising budgets, that sees them sprawled across bus shelters and AM radio. Sure ‘Mega-musicals’ have their place but sometimes entertainment supplants art and one can walk out wondering whether they have really ‘felt’ anything or just had their senses assaulted – although in a nice kind of way. Hayes Theatre are doing the other kind of musical – smaller, more intimate, more heartfelt – and the ironically titled Big Fish is a perfect example of the ‘chamber-style’ musical.
Edward is a travelling salesman, who lives life to the full and then some. His stories are thrilling – larger than life – maybe even larger than the truth. His son Will, who is about to have a child of his own, determines to find the reality behind his father’s epic tales, where nursery witches and giants give way to circuses and cowboys and mermaids. Sometimes reality turns out to be stranger and warmer.
Based on the Tim Burton film, in turn based on the 1998 novel by Daniel Wallace, it is about a father and son trying to reconnect – a father who feels that he is not enough for his son. In the heart of every father is the dream to be a hero to his son or maybe even a hero to himself. Told in flashback and alternating between realism and fantasy, the truth gradually unfolds. When it first opened on Broadway the response was initially underwhelming but it wasn’t long before the quality began to shine through. When Hayes first announced auditions for the show they were inundated with the highest quality actors, singers and dancers. Adam Rennie returns from his many New York accolades to play Will.
Until May 14, Various performance times. Hayes Theatre, 19 Greenknowe Ave, Potts Point. $59-$65. Tickets & Info: www.hayestheatre.com.au or PH: 0280657337
By Greg Webster.