A big mistake watching Big the Musical

big the musical review

It pains me to write this particular blog post but I have to be honest, Big the Musical was bad. I went into the auditorium buzzing with excitement and left feeling saddened. I’ve watched the film countless times so maybe my bar was set too high? Or more likely, this production lacked in a lot of areas.

It’s based on the classic 80s movie where a boy asks Zoltar, a wish granting machine, to be big. But he forgets the specifics and doesn’t exactly expect it to be magic. So, the next morning he wakes up straddling his bunk bed as a child inside a grown man’s body.

After some panic, he falls into a pretty cushy job at a Toy Store until his best friend relocates the funfair machine to undo the wish. Along the way he transforms the company, has a weird relationship with a woman and ultimately understands the bore of being an adult.

It’s a fun, energetic and childish movie. So you think the musical would emulate that right? Wrong.

It was sluggish

Seriously, it dragged on and on. Not helped by the slow tempo, forgettable score. It needs so many more upbeat, spectacular numbers.

It was small

I do not understand why they did not take the opportunity to make a gigantic Zoltar? Or throw in some comedy dancing toys at the toy shop, or something.

It was adult

The fun had been drained away. So many unnecessary boardroom and office scenes. They manage to make the woman/child relationship pretty lighthearted but it’s still odd to watch.

It was predictable

The revolving screen that reveals a new set every scene loses its charm pretty quickly only adding to the monotony of score and slow pace of the production. It follows the script near perfectly but makes this all about serious grown ups. The musical needs to release its inner child.

The four saving graces?

Jay McGuiness captures the child-like innocence really well, the scale and creativity in the toy shop design is impressive, the famous piano dancing scene is spectacular (probably ever better than the film) and the post show dance party is a ball of energy. Where was that the rest of the show?

I wish Big the Musical was better. Where’s that damn Zoltar machine when you need it?

It’s on until Saturday 2 November at the Dominion Theatre. Find more info here.

Like musicals based on films? Read my review of Unfortunate – the untold story of Ursula the sea witch from The Little Mermaid.

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