Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for the musical based on the Tom Hanks film, now playing for a limited season at the Dominion Theatre.
The Guardian: ★★ “For all its additional dance breaks, this soulless show feels both flatter and more uptight than its source material.”
London Theatre1: ★★★★ “In the end, though, it’s a pleasant evening at the theatre, family-friendly, and never boring. A charming and amusing production.”
The Stage: ★★ “Big was never really crying out to be a musical, and the production completely doesn’t justify its having been turned into one. The kind interpretation is that it’s unimaginative.”
Musical Manda: ★★★★ “Whilst it may not have the most memorable score, it is visually incredible and the story stays true to the film.”
Londonist: ★★★ “You shouldn’t come to a show like Big expecting the unexpected, but for a warm hug of a musical as the nights grow longer and colder, it delivers handsomely.”
There Ought to be Clowns: “More crucially for a musical with these kinds of ambitions, David Shire’s score is horribly anaemic. These are songs that you forget even while you’re listening to them, no inspiration comes from then, nor any real sense of time or place.”
London Theatre.co.uk: ★★★★ “Full of confident, appealing performances, with Wendi Peters and Matthew Kelly stealing parental honours (as Josh’s mother and new boss respectively), and Kimberley Walsh as Josh’s love interest Susan.”
Exeunt Magazine: “The cast works really, really hard. But they’re labouring against material that feels like it was thrown together by a focus group, half pastiche of basically every musical you’ve ever seen and half live shadow-cast of the movie. I’d feel more generous if there were just a hint that this project was animated by the values its story espouses. You know, fun. Play. Love.”
Time Out: ★★ “The saving grace is former Girls Aloud member Kimberley Walsh as Susan: she’s startlingly good, and funny, and brings a sort of extremely well-judged ingenue-ish quality to the role that somehow successfully navigated the potential ickiness of her burgeoning relationship with Josh.”
A Younger Theatre: ★★ “Whether Walsh and McGuiness, previous girl and boy band figures, are simply failing to transfer their skills onto stage or whether they’re not cut out for the spotlight, they remain overshadowed by their counterpart company members. However, maybe we can’t put it down to them, perhaps Big is just not meant for the big stage.”
The Telegraph: ★★★★ “The delight of the production (slick direction and choreography by Morgan Young) stems less from the graft of John Weidman (book), David Shire (score) and Richard Maltby (lyrics), and more from its intangibles: the unsettling comic confusions generated by the cross-over premise and the finally stirring romantic chemistry.”
Musical Theatre Review: ★★ “It is unfortunate that, although the cast members hurl themselves about with total abandon, the songs don’t live up to their energy levels and are really quite unmemorable. That said, however, the show did appeal to the first night audience and it should attract a young following, or at least a following younger than I am.”
Stage Review: ★ “Big, the film, holds a special place in everyone’s hearts but this musical version is out of step and time.”
Big the Musical continues to play at the Dominion Theatre until 2 November 2019.