Review: Grant MacEwan Presents ‘Big Fish’ | By Tylar Hamblett

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. 

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  • Brandon Rookie Kimble

    To the writer, who is at fault then? I’m the technical director of this show and nobody is at fault. We are nothing more than students trying to learn the business of theatre, and the fact that you are applying fault to a group of students offends me. We are not very experienced in our departments yet and we are given less then half the time a professional theatre is given. So if things are not working perfectly on a technical point, dont place blame. You should try to work as a tech and understand the shit we go through so that the theatre arts students have a great show. We want them to look good. Thats our goal. But we are given no time to perfect our part of the show. We work/build all the way till opening night. Theatre arts and theater production are a team. We work together and all support each other. We are all friends, and there should be no particular fault to anyone when there is anything wrong with the show. We are all learning.

    I would like to hear from you because i dont believe in your article. So i will be contacting you.

    Brandon Kimble
    Technical Directorfauly

    • Boyd Bishop

      My wife and I are attending the show this evening. We’ve never been to one at MacEwan and only discovered it after a search of things to do in Edmonton this week. Anticipating our outing, I looked for a review and discovered this one. I found it informative and fair. Thank you Tylar. I was disappointed though, at the tone of Brandon’s response. In my opinion, he came across as angry and overly defensive. The fact that he has chosen to represent the University, the show, and his fellow students in such a manner is unfortunate. It left me questioning the professionalism of those involved. Yet he also admits to “learning”, so I’ll give him, and this production, the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he has learned to avoid pressing the send button when feeling passionate, that the use of foul language was not necessary, and that if he wishes to speak for the team/his friends – to ensure his message is that of the majority. All the best tonight.



  • Mary-Kate Olsen

    I wish you were the one on stilts in this play Tylar.