ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

BIG THE MUSICAL Director Matalie Bowden Musical Director Adam Hutchins Choreography Natalie Bowden & Mhairi Hutchins Bowden Theatre Works “I wish I were Big” When the young Josh Baskin utters these words to the mysterious Zoltar we are set on our way to an evening filled with magic and wonder. Based on the 1988 blockbuster hit film, “Big the Musical” seeks to capture the joy of the silver screen version and bring its feel good story of a boy thrust into adulthood to the more intimate setting of musical theatre. “Big” is one of my favourite films and so it was with a sense of childish wonder and innocence that my guest and I set off for New Mills to see what magic Bowden Theatre Works had in store for us. The stage was effectively set with the New York skyline shown to the rear depicted by vertical piano keys. Numerous sets were in use throughout the show and with scenes in settings as diverse as a fairground, a corporate office building and of course the FAO Schwarz Toy Store, these were both effective and immersive. The use of the boxes as the boy’s bedrooms was inspired and brought the action closer to the audience. Lighting was well done throughout, and the final scene was particularly effective with use of moody blues and purples. I felt that the follow spot was overused, and at times, felt unnecessary the result of which meant key players occasionally being in shadow. Musical Director Adam Hutchins had obviously been working hard and the ensemble vocals were tight, and the band well drilled, especially the brass section. The sound was generally satisfactory although from our seats in the balcony elements of dialogue were sometimes drowned out by the underscore, most noticeably at the end of Act One. The balance of vocals and music during the songs was good.