★★★ | BIG The Musical at The Dominion Theatre – “simple family fun!”
Where: The Dominion Theatre
Review date: Wednesday 18th September 2019
About the Show:
Based on the smash-hit movie starring Tom Hanks, BIG makes its West End premiere at the Dominion Theatre after touring the UK back in 2016.
Josh Baskin is 12 and life sucks until one night at a carnival his wish to be big is granted. Now, trapped in an adult body in a grown-up world, he’s asking: is being BIG all it’s cracked up to be?
Encore Rating Factor:
BIG The Musical is simple family fun! Currently playing at the Dominion Theatre BIG The Musical offers something for all of the family.
Directed and choreographed by Morgan Young, BIG The Musical at times can feel a little lost in the vast space of the Dominion Theatre. The show has all the mechanics of what you would think is needed to create a large scale musical but within this production, there is always something that has just missed the mark. The design of the show naturally fills the shape of 2,069 seat Dominion Theatre but even the sound design felt quiet.
BIG The Musical has music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby and book by John Weidman. Following the storyline of the popular Tom Hanks film, this musical tries to cover so much that even the story can lose focus. In my humble opinion, it could do with losing a few songs in each act, thus giving space for the stronger numbers to shine through.
Jay McGuiness plays the title role of “Big” Josh Baskin. His performance was endearing and heartwarming; a joy to watch! I would be interested to see where his musical theatre career takes him. Kimberley Walsh plays the role of Susan Lawrence, Josh’s love interest. The duo blends perfectly together and I partially enjoyed their number towards the end of Act 1 ‘Stars’.
They are joined on stage by Wendi Peters as Mrs Baskin and Matthew Kelly as George McMillan. Peters is a brilliant musical theatre actress and sparkles in the role of Mrs Baskin, her solo numbers ‘Say Good Morning to Mom’ and ‘Stop Time’ are wonderful. Kelly is charming on stage and has a great rapport with the audience.
Of course, this show is packed with a wonderful company of actors and I would like to mention the fantastic juvenile performers who did such a great job! At this performance of BIG The Musical the role of Young Josh Baskin was played by Jamie O’Connor and Billy Kopecki was played by Jobe Hart. Both are extremely talented young performers!
This show has not only opened at a tricky time (as children have just returned to school) but it has also entered a very crowded market of West End family shows. BIG The Musical is playing against big hitters such as Matilda, School of Rock, Disney’s The Lion King with the likes of Disney’s Mary Poppins and Frozen on the horizon. BIG The Musical hasn’t set out to be groundbreaking, to push the boundaries or change opinions and I do believe that is okay.
As I watched last nights performance of BIG The Musical, I was surrounded by families of all ages, children and grandparents alike. As they were laughing, clapping and smiling it is obvious to me that BIG The Musical is quite simply easy to watch family entertainment.