Big, the 1988 movie starring Tom Hanks, is yet another classic film I’ve never seen. However, this didn’t stop me going to see the musical, currently showing at the Dominion Theatre. With music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. and book by John Weidman, it first premiered in 1996.
The plot sees a young boy, Josh, about to turn thirteen, make a wish via an Eye of Zoltar game, asking to be “big”. The next morning, he finds he has got his wish, as he has somehow transformed into an adult. Escaping his house, where his mother doesn’t believe he is actually her son, he ends up getting a job at a toy factory and falling in love with fellow employee Susan.
It all sounds promising, yet personally I found it overwhelmingly dull. The story seemed clichéd, even though I’ve never seen the movie before, and the music was forgettable. The show as a whole was overlong, and yet seemed to end surprisingly abruptly.
It wasn’t all bad: the sets were impressive, even if I wish there had been fewer projections. The performers, including Jay McGuiness, Kimberley Walsh, Matthew Kelly and Wendi Peters, were talented and did their best with the material on offer. One song, in which Susan’s friends meet and size up her new boyfriend Josh, was funny and unexpected and reminded me of Alan Ayckbourn in terms of its suburban satire.
Overall, though, I was incredibly bored and was glad when it was all over. I’m still curious to see the original film, to see why it is viewed as such a classic, but I’ve no interest in seeing this musical again.