Reviewed by David Smith
Therry has an absolute winner in this engaging production. Director Amanda Rowe and the ubiquitous and talented MD Mark DeLaine have, in the good company of Choreographer Kerry Hauber, assembled a high-order cast, band and crew, and have come up with an enchanting and moving piece.
Andrew Crispe, as travelling salesman Edward Bloom, established his swaggering character and the play’s fanciful world in the first number, Be The Hero, where he was supported by a well-coordinated and subtle ensemble. Edward’s character must be credible and Crispe’s interpretation thoroughly achieved that, through various changes in time and mood.
Lindsay Prodea was an earnest, somewhat prim Will, importantly providing a clear contrast with Edward which underpinned their final, moving, rapprochement. Rebecca Raymond was a loyal and authentic Sandra, and Kate Hodges was a most convincing and empathetic Josephine.
The strength of this cast ran longer and deeper still. Trish Hart as the Witch, John Rosen as circus man Amos Calloway, Scott Nell as Karl the Giant, Megan Langford as Jenny Hill all showed abundant skill in their own roles as well as complementing others, especially Edward, and adding to the spectacle and fancy of his stories. So too with Josh Barkley as Don Price and Oscar Bridges as young Will.
The story was well told, the music smoothly supported the action, the songs were well modulated and illustrative and the set worked well, with well-rehearsed, unobtrusive scene changes.
This is a must-see production. It’s funny, it’s sad and it compels us to believe in fantasy.
Edward (Andrew Crispe) introducing Karl the Giant (Scott Nell) to the townsfolk.