Don’t be fooled in to thinking he is the only ‘star’ of the show though, this is very much an ensemble performance, and every single member of the cast holds an important piece in the giant jigsaw of events, from George Ure’s wonderful Zacky to Landi Oshinowo’s Witch, and not to mention the Boy character, a role shared by three talented young actors. Granted, the female leads have less to get their teeth in to, in what is essentially a father/son story, but that doesn’t stop Clare Burt, as Sandra Bloom, bringing the house to tears with ‘I Don’t Need a Roof’.
Jamie Muscato, as the young Edward Bloom is filled with naïve innocence and ambition, this story wouldn’t work without conveying the charm of Edward Bloom, and Muscato makes it easy to fall in love with Story Edward. Forbes Masson definitely has the most fun on stage, and has the audience eating out of his hands in the role of Amos (and others), portrayed with flamboyance and swashbuckling enthusiasm, no more so than in ‘Red, White and True’.
But, it is Matthew Seadon-Young who gives a breathtakingly brilliant performance as Will Bloom. Seadon-Young doesn’t have the luxury of the big theatrical numbers to sell his character, instead he must convey the agony of losing his father, whom he doesn’t really understand, through pure stage craft alone, and he does it beautifully. His final number with Grammer ‘What’s Next’, is what finally converted the remaining sniffles to full blown sobbing, and is one of the most heart-breaking, moving, and inspiring things you will ever see on a stage.
This production is considerably scaled back compared to its 2013 Broadway predecessor, but if anything, that only serves to add to its wholesome charm. Another welcome change is the introduction of Story Edward as a separate character, portrayed by a different actor, which makes it far easier to fall into the wonderment of the stories.
Big Fish The Musical pulls on every emotion imaginable, and leaves you feeling exhilarated as a result of the energy, and intensity of the fantastic cast. This is hands down, one of the best musicals to open in London this year, and we can only hope that this perfect tale doesn’t end as quickly as it’s scheduled to.