Valencia State College
Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Book by John August
Directed by Julia Allardice Gagne
Choreography by Eric Yow
Musical Direction By Tim Hanes
Starring Brandon Mañoz-Dominguez, Jeremiah Wood, and Xandra Burnett
Dear old dad has his quirks, but then all dads do. Edward Bloom (Muñoz) tells tall tales, his son doesn’t believe them, and the family is under stress when son Will (Wood) wants to marry, but not have dad embarrass him with his tall tales at the reception. Good luck on that front. We then slide back into a time when Edward was a young man and meet the mythical figures that populate his life: a mermaid, a giant, a witch, and his girlfriend Sandra (Burnett). Ed ends up in a circus, here his life is filled with poverty and storybook adventures. In Act Two things get darker, it looks like Ed really does hold a fatal secret, but we find out that secret is more wonderful that real life.
I’d class this a romantic fantasy with a filigree of gimmicks scattered around the stage. As time passes, the giants shrink to tall men, the mermaids take off their tails at the end of their shift, and the circus leaves town to save the plot line. Mr. Muñoz might be the ideal father: engaging and entertaining and always out for his sons best. Burnett’s Sandra felt patient and loving, and never really found out how bad things might have been. But the highlight of this show flows from the various stilt walking, mermaid kissing, and curse throwing that decorates Edwards life. He’s a sounding board, a man who absorbs bad energy and re-emits it as goodness waves. “Big Fish” is a big show in a small pond, a description of a loving and idealized life, and a refreshing look at life filled with mystery and love.
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