"The sets were incredible!" "I loved the projections, I mean really loved them." "Look at how many people were here!"
These are things you should practice saying if you happen to know someone in Big Fish:The Musical playing now at the Oriental Theater.
Now, because all the big papers have a stake in Broadway In Chicago's success, you won't hear any truths from them about this show. In fact, I bet CJ throws this thing 2 1/2 stars.
The problem isn't with the acting, in fact, everyone seems mostly capable. The projections really are beautiful. The lights really are cool.
The problem with this show is in the hands of the composer, the script, and the director.
The staging is lazy, the songs are dumb, and the script is boring.
I remember liking the movie when it came out about 10 years ago. I think? I remember liking the previews and wanting to see it, but then, when the play started, I remember a little more clearly.
The advertise this thing like it is the dang Odyssey, the greatest collection of stories ever told, so let me tell you what it is really about.
This kid named Will comes home to marry some French lady and that means he has to spend time with his dad named Edward, whom he doesn't like because he likes to tell stories that may or may not be true.
"I'm not gonna die this way, because a witch told me differently"- cut to a scene where a witch is singing a song that no one could understand the words to, and then back to the story.
There are a lot of stories like this.
One is about a fish that ate his wedding ring, one is about seeing a mermaid in a pool, one is about meeting a giant, one is about joining a circus, one is about going to college at Auburn University, and then I left at intermission, so I don't know the rest.
But let me tell you, if the craziest story that happens is that a southern guy in the 1950's joins a circus and then goes to Auburn, then you need a couple new stories, brah.
And that kid Will needs to take it easy on his Dad, who is also dying of cancer.
Is this play about a man's love for his father and the complicated way look up to them?
Beats me. It seemed like it was about this whiny kid who has had everything he ever wanted complaining about stuff.
Now, I do understand that this is a preview, which is why they stopped and restarted once, and that maybe the staging isn't done yet (I hope), but I also know what tickets cost ($200 for a couple) and if anybody came to see my show that cost $200 and saw that thing, I would be very upset with myself.
The first act ends with the dad singing a song to the mom about daffodil flowers. Do you know what the words to the song are?
"Daffodiiiiiiiiiiiils, Daffodiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiils, Daffodiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiils" and then daffodils pop up out of the stage.
There ya go.
I can't spend any more time talking about this.
-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach