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BWW Review: BIG FISH at Musical Theatre Southwest

March 4 - April 2

BWW Review: BIG FISH at Musical Theatre Southwest

I've been going to productions at Musical Theater Southwest for several years now, and this company never ceases to amaze me with what they can do in their little black box space. Their latest production, Big Fish, is no exception. Taking this epic tale of a small man with big dreams and even bigger stories was no small task, but the actors, musicians and technicians definitely rose to the occasion.

Based on the Tim Burton film of the same name, Big Fish tells the story of Edward Bloom, a man who loves to tell his son Will tall tales about his life as a traveling salesman. These are not your typical, run-of-the-mill stories - they involve witches, giants and other interesting characters, as well as some hair-raising situations and events, including how Edward met the love of his life, Sandra Bloom. When Edward falls ill, Will, skeptical of his father's stories, sets off on a journey to discover the truth.

The cast of 12 at MTS features a strong ensemble - they pivot from townspeople to amazing dancers, vocalists and strange side characters throughout the production. Especially strong dance work, especially in the tap number - I kept marveling about how well they used and filled the space, which consisted of a minimal but effective set. Having the orchestra above the action was very effective as well and gave the cast more room to move throughout the space.

The lead roles - especially Edward (Tanner Sroufe), Sandra (Adrianne Elkins) and Will (Jesse Miller_ we exceptionally well-played and sung. The actors embodied their roles and helped the audience to suspend reality for the 2+ hours of the production. Ryan Garcia as the Giant named Karl and Brynlyn Loomis as Jenny, Edward's first love, were also strong.

My one suggestion for this company would be to make sure that performers don't rely too heavily on their microphones - there were a few times when dialogue was muffled, although all of the singers had very clear diction in the musical numbers.

Big Fish continues this weekend with shows on April 1 and 2. I look forward to seeing the rest of the MTS season - next up is Fun Home, followed by The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Carrie The Musical and Cinderella. Kudos to this scrappy, can-do company - they are what community theater is all about.

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From This Author - Jackie Camborde