Big Fish at The Other Palace
Last night S and I popped to the theatre for one of the most unexpectedly brilliantly shows of the year so far.
We almost forgot we had bought tickets for Big Fish at The Other Palace. We booked them on a whim a while ago and were suddenly reminded about them when we saw an advert on Facebook at the weekend.
There was a surreal moment of conversation which went:
"There's a musical of Big Fish, do you want to see it?"
"Hang on, haven't we got tickets already?"
Anyway, we remembered in time and headed up The Other Palace. In the last nine months this has become a favourite haunt of ours, we've seen Wild Party and The Whisper House already there since it reopened.
Big Fish is a new version of the Broadway musical of the 2003 Ewan McGregor and and Albert Finney film.
It stars Frasier actor Kelsey Grammer in the role originated by Norbert Leo Butz and has had a slight rewrite to those of you familiar with the original.
Sat in the second row we were right in the heart of the action. The challenge of Big Fish is that is follows a son trying to unravel the incredible stories of his father's life as he faces fatherhood himself and his father faces his own mortality.
The songs and voices on show were brilliant, with special mention to Matthew Seadon-Young as Will Bloom with Strangers and Jamie Muscato as Story Edward and Dean Nolan as Karl leading the ensemble in Out There On The Road.
But the true magic of the show, which jumps between reality and story, is when you sit back and enjoy the ride. Like Will, the audience have to embrace the story being told and not wonder about how or why. The cast and direction make full use of the theatrical setting with the fourth wall almost as flexible as the boundry between real life and fiction in the story.
At its heart Big Fish is a story about love and family and as the curtain closed there was barely a dry eye in the house. It has been a long time since I cried at a film or show, but I don't mind admitting this one got me in a big way.
I heartily recommend keeping an eye on The Other Palace; it has some brilliant shows, most of which are works in progress, but gives you the chance to see brilliant works as they come together. Oh, and if you have time in the next couple of months, get down and see Big Fish. You're welcome.