Theatre Review: Big Fish

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Presented by Therry Dramatic Society
Reviewed 10 June 2016

There must be something new in the water in Adelaide with companies producing a string of high quality productions in recent months. Therry’s production of Andrew Lippa’s Big Fish, following the father-son story of a man whose tales are larger than life, is no exception. The stellar cast and crew work together beautifully to traverse this complex and multi-faceted show.

Big Fish3Big Fish is a complicated show that spans two timelines and a multitude of locates. Amanda Rowe’s direction keeps every transition seamless as the cast expertly move the set to brilliantly represent each of the show’s multiple locations. In conjunction with Jason Grove’s lighting design, this dream-like set stunningly represents the tone of the show.

Potentially the most demanding portion of this show is its richly drawn characters and the cast is more than up to the challenge The flow between the past and present storylines, as actors magically switch from old to young, is most impressive.. Andrew Crispe is completely flawless as Edward Bloom with a stunning voice and charming characterisation. From the second the curtain opens to the last note of the finale, Crispe delivers every element of his performance perfectly. As his wife, Sandra, Rebecca Raymond shines – almost brighter than Crispe. Her voice is stunning and her song I Don’t Need A Roof in Act 2 is a heart-wrenching highlight.

Big Fish1In the role of Will Bloom, Edward Bloom’s son, Lindsay Prodea performs well. He acts well but his voice appeared to struggle with his Act 1 solo, Stranger – this could potentially be due to sickness. Luckily this was short lived and his voice soared through the second act. Kate Hodges seems sadly underused as Will’s wife Josephine but she delivers her limited dialogue strongly.

In smaller roles, Scott Nell, Trish Hart, John Rosen, Josh Barkley and Megan Langford all sing and act well. They are supported by a fantastic ensemble, a number of whom take on little roles along the way. Kerry Hauber’s choreography is infrequent, but spectacular and tightly drilled when it does appear. The Witch Sequence was particularly effective – working in well with Sandra Davis’ solid costuming.

Big Fish2Mark DeLaine keeps the band under a tight baton, perfectly accompanying the pitch perfect harmonies of the cast. The work of the crew should also be noted as they keep the show rollicking along fantastically. A few small cues were missed, but in a production of this magnitude that is completely forgivable.

The team behind Therry’s Big Fish is incredibly well-drilled and incredibly talented. Productions like this raise the bar for amateur theatre and crash through the barrier between them and the professionals. Don’t miss it!

Reviewed by Nathan Quadrio

Venue: Arts Theatre
Season: 9th June – 18th June
Duration: 2 hours
Tickets: $13 – $15
Bookings: Telephone 8410 5515 Mon-Fri noon to 5 pm or Trybooking

 

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