Big Fish

Date 20th November 2019
Society Kirkcaldy Amateur Operatic Society
Venue Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy
Type of Production Musical
Director James Cassidy
Musical Director Ronan Corkey
Assistant Director / Choreographer Kay Dickson


Author: Mike Pendlowski

Possibly to many people, like myself, “Big Fish” is a new musical. However, what I can now say is, it is a wonderful musical, full of lovely songs and tunes, lively and, much of the time, sentimental. The story’s main character, Edward Bloom is on his deathbed, and reliving his life-long tall tales to his son Will.  The role of Edward is massive and is played with outstanding skill and unending liveliness by Tony Livingston. Tony’s vocal talents shone in no less than a dozen numbers in the show. He was joined here by Erin Sammutt as his wife Sandra, whose love story with Edward was relived from the present day to the past and back again.  Erin’s singing voice completely suited the part, with her rendition of ‘I don’t need a Roof’ being both beautiful and heartbreaking.   A fine performance was also achieved by Scott Binnie as Edward’s son Will, whose life was plagued by his father’s exaggerated stories – largely about himself!  Will as a young boy was portrayed at alternate performances by Jack Kitchen and Joseph Paton, and I was lucky enough to hear both of them this week, and being amazed by the clear and confident singing voices that emerged from these young performers. Smaller, but no less important parts, abound in this show. In the course of Edward’s stories we hear of him meeting The Witch (Claire Johnstone), leading her coven of witches in the swamp scene, and also a Mermaid (Michelle Winter) who emerged, complete with tail, from the stage right section of the orchestra pit.  These characters, together with Karl the agoraphobic, intellectual Giant (Clark Graham) – who spent the whole show on stilts, until the final scene – all added to the make-believe emanating from Edwards mind. Other roles just as worthy of mention are Jenny Hill (Jennifer Durie), Will’s school friends  Don (Adam Campbell) and Zacky (Lee McPherson) – loved the facial expressions Lee!, Will’s wife, Josephine (Keri Henderson), Will & Josephine’s son (Owen Plimmer), Amos (Graham Ronald), the Mayor (Ian Brown), and last but not least, Dr Bennett played in outstanding fashion by the ever present Ian Davidson.   Congratulations to all.

The Kirkcaldy AOS chorus was, as usual, in fine voice, thanks to the first class musical direction of Ronan Corkey,  and choreography involving several forms of dance was in the safe hands of Kay Dickson.

Sets were designed by John Urquhart, and enabled the many scene changes to be effected quickly and smoothly, with minimum lag between scenes – all thanks to the skill of John’s stage technical & props team. I think the less said about the number of times the bed came on and off the better!

Finally, Artistic Direction by James Cassidy, brought this lesser known musical to life here in Fife,  countering the necessarily sad nature of the show with moments of humour, all of which made excellent use of this very talented company.

Congratulations to Kirkcaldy AOS for adding a new show to your repertoire (and to mine!).