For their second production of the year, MacEwan University Theatre Arts and Theatre Production departments present Big Fish. A tale of a son, Will, trying to understand the myths surrounding the stories his father, Edward, told him as a child. With a cast of characters including a witch, a mermaid and a giant, it’s no wonder that as his father lies on his deathbed, Will decides he’s had enough and must find out the truth. As usual MacEwan pulls out all the stops when it comes to authentic costumes, (shout out to Josh Thayer who played Karl the Giant and rocked stilts for the entire performance!) and simple yet elegant set design, but the sound levels were off and the orchestra often drowned out the performers. The video component was unnecessary and at times did not line up with the scene or set design correctly.
The performance boasted many talents, including Melissa Cunningham as Sandra Bloom, the wife of Edward. Her knockout solo in the second act, “I Don’t Need a Roof,” conveys the emotion that Sandra goes through as her husband lies dying beside her. Even though the scene is simple, her strong voice carries it through to the end. The chorus do a wonderful job of nailing the choreography and truly add to the atmosphere of the stories Edward and Will are telling.
Big Fish is set in a magical world where a father teaches his son lessons through his storytelling, a world where even the smallest tales can be turned into an adventure. MacEwan’s theatre programs did a wonderful just at bringing this new musical to life and any shortcomings were not the fault of the performers, and are kinks that may be worked out as they continue the run of the show.
Big Fish is based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and the movie, directed by Tim Burton and starring Ewan McGregor. It runs until February 14 at the MacEwan Centre for Arts and Communications in the John L. Haar Theatre.
Photography courtesy of Madison Kerr.