Review: Methacton Community Theater Production of ‘Big Fish’ Goes Swimmingly

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man flying across a stage
Image via John Gray at Methacton Community Theater.
Even transportation is whimsical in the Methacton Community Theater production of "Big Fish, The Broadway Musical."

The Methacton Community Theater (MCT) production of Big Fish, The Broadway Musical opened July 15 at the Shannondell Performing Arts Center, Audubon.

Big Fish is another screen-to-musical-stage adaptation. Its transferal from quirky, Tim Burton film to a proscenium-song-dance presentation is remarkably smooth.

The tale is of father-son relationship as it evolves over time. The dad, Edward Bloom (Tyler Ball of Melrose Park), is a story-telling dreamer. Will (Rob Rinaldo), his pragmatic offspring, finds his father’s fables distracting at best and untruthful at worst.

The script skip-hops through both time and reality — which director Nicolette Adams handles adeptly. Bloom-the-elder is shot out of a cannon at one point, and Adams’ creative approach to the special effect is both humorous and stylistically appropriate.

The cast has several standout performers, including Ball as the Bloom patriarch. He’s a triple threat: moves well, sings gorgeously, acts with ease and confidence. Rinaldo as the younger Bloom sings confidently but gave a somewhat unsteady dramatic performance in previews that may strengthen during the run. Greg Berlin as Karl, a giant, is a wonder.

The simple-but-clever set uses a book-like upstage structure that supports the musical’s fair-tale threads.

Costumes are colorful, intricate, and impressive, especially for Karl, who not only navigates his part on stilts — with customized pants legs — he dances on them.

Perhaps the most unexpected pleasure of Big Fish is its heartfelt conclusion. Without being mawkish or forced, the finale resonates, a credit to the source material and the MCT artists handling it.

Big Fish, The Broadway Musical runs weekends though July 24. Tickets, showtimes, and other info is online.

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