Kelsey Grammer stars in Nigel Harman’s production based on the Tim Burton film. But what have critics been saying about it?
What is it to really know your own father? Meet Edward Bloom, played by Emmy, Tony and Golden Globe award-winner Kelsey Grammer. An ordinary man, and an extraordinary father. He has always told his son tall tales filled with beauty, love and imagination but when his son confronts him about what is truth and what is fiction, they go on a life-affirming journey that will change them forever.
The Guardian: ** “But in a musical one looks for memorable songs and Lippa’s score falls sadly short.”
The Times: *** “If Grammer seems too big for this stage, then so does this musical.”
The Stage: *** “in Grammer and Seadon-Young we see the complexities of fathers and their sons laid bare, and together they create quite a moving climax.”
WhatsOnStage: *** “Nigel Harman directs with panache, with designer Tom Rogers, lighting designer Bruno Poet and projection designer Duncan McLean transforming the tiny stage with flair and invention.”
The Telegraph: ** “Grammer himself emerges with flying colours, albeit he appears so bronzed and healthy, he makes you want to contemplate a winter break, not life’s brevity.”
The Reviews Hub: ***** “With Big Fish, The Other Palace may just have found that perfect combination of commercial success and technically superb work. One would certainly be hard-pressed to find a more emotional, more satisfying work on the London stage right now.”
The Metro: ** “To get to its rawest sentiments, Daniel Wallace’s Big Fish requires the viewer’s imagination. Either that, or Tim Burton’s big budget to play with. Its giant stories are the show’s real heart, not its thinning plot line; really, Edward and Will Bloom’s father-son relationship is the message we needn’t see, but rather, have in the back of our minds as the shows imaginative turns take centre stage.”
London Theatre1: **** “Big Fish the Musical is everything a modern musical should be; fresh, exciting, full of warmth and heartbreakingly beautiful.”
The FT: *** “It’s a heart-warming family show that emphasises the inspirational nature of storytelling but, in terms of substance, it is neither fish nor fowl.”
Theatre Weekly: ***** “Nigel Harman has directed a stunning piece of musical theatre.”
Time Out: *** “Ultimately if you’re here for Kelsey Grammer, you’ll leave happy. But to state the clangingly obvious, he’s a big fish and this show is a small pond.”
The Upcoming: **** “Big Fish the Musical is a triumph and goes to show that a story can effectively be transferred to and told through different mediums with a skilled eye such as playwright John August’s.”
British Theatre.com: ***** “Andrew Lippa and John August have shown the flexibility of their material and its ability to shed a large glitzy production in favour of Harman’s honest story-telling.”
London Theatre.co.uk: *** “Despite re-writes and a much tighter, more intimate production than it received on Broadway, it remains an ambitious muddle of a musical: simultaneously astringent and sentimental, full of weird fantasy sequences that involve giants, mermaids and werewolves, yet also grounded in a poignant story of a son that tries to come to an understanding of his father after he suffers a stroke.”
Evening Standard: *** “Nigel Harman’s efficient production is much more modest than the Broadway staging by Susan Stroman — and without an abundance of visual distractions, too heavy a burden falls on Lippa’s quaint score and cutesy lyrics.”
The Express: **** “Charming, imaginative, realistic, romantic and with unexpected depths, Big Fish hooked me from the start.”
Musical Theatre Review: ***** “It had the audience in tears by the end, yet it’s ultimately uplifting and spiritually refreshing, even at times laugh-out-loud funny.”
Radio Times: *** “The problem comes mainly with the structure of the piece. By trying to blend into the relationship story reenactments of Edward’s stories it becomes a bit of a hotch potch — charming in parts but with neither August’s book or Nigel Harman’s direction really getting to grips with the shifts in tone.”
Big Fish will play at The Other Palace Theatre from the 1st November until the 31st December. To book tickets visit: ATG Tickets, See Tickets.com, Ticketmaster.co.uk, Discount Theatre.com, Last Minute.com, Theatre Tickets Direct.co.uk, Love Theatre.com, Theatre People.com and Love London Love Culture.