Big Fish: a show about family, for families

For more than 40 years, Engadine Musical Society has presented high quality entertainment for shire families. 

This October, the company is bringing the Andrew Lippa and John August’s musical, Big Fish, to Engadine Community Centre.

Based on Daniel Wallace’s novel, Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions and Tim Burton’s film Big Fish, the musical tells the tale of travelling salesman and storyteller, Edward Bloom and his relationship with his adult son, William.

Described by Variety as ‘‘meaningful, emotional, tasteful, theatrically imaginative and engaging,’’ the musical provides something for all ages, and was the perfect choice for Engadine Musical Society. 

‘‘We wanted to offer our patrons something new that was relevant and adhere to our ethos of being a family friendly society,’’ musical society president, Sue Bunt said.

‘‘For us, Big Fish was ideal because it is a show about family, for families.’’ 

Director Kenney Ogilvie said Edward’s past adventures take audiences to incredible locations straight out of classic children’s literature. 

‘‘A fantastical forrest protected by a witch, a giant’s cave and a circus run by a werewolf are all something you’d expect from Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl,’’ Ogilvie said.

‘‘Children will delight in Edward’s adventures as much as adults will.’’ 

The choreography of Tracey Blankenship brings the show’s magic to life.

Teamed with an incredible team of dancers, Blankenship’s choreography utilises styles of broadway jazz, tap and contemporary to help transform the scenes from reality to fantasy.

A parallel narrative to the shows enchanting tales is the powerful message of forgiveness and acceptance portrayed through the father and son relationship of Edward and William. 

The show moves from enchanting and impressive show-stopping numbers, to intimate and powerful solos and duets that are layered unresolved tension, hope, anger and fear.

For Ogilvie, Big Fish is a story which is universal and relevant to shire audiences.

‘‘I’ve had so many conversations with both cast and production crew about how much they relate to these characters,’’ Ogilvie said.

‘‘How their families went through similar hardships and triumphs. And that’s the glue holding this musical together. 

‘‘It’s a beautiful story about a parent, their child and the legacies we built.’’ 

The show features Adam Scicluna as Edward Bloom and Charmaine Gibbs as his wife Sandra.

Big Fish is a rare opportunity for Shire audiences to see a piece of theatre that will not be seen on Australian stages for a while.

The production opens October 19 and runs to October 28 at Engadine Community Centre.