Coronado Lamb’s Players’ production of Big Fish spills over with meaning, magic, and fun. Running through July 30, it is sure to play to sold-out crowds this summer.
Big Fish is based on the 1998 best selling novel by Daniel Wallace and the 2003 movie by Tim Burton.
The performance of 2008 Coronado High School and CoSA graduate, Donny Gersonde, as Karl the Giant, will especially thrill Coronado audience members.
Rich themes are layered, one over the other, in this father and son tale. There is also a great deal of hilarious comedy.
The father, Edward Bloom, is performed expertly by Brandon Joel Maier. Audiences may remember Mr. Maier from his performance as Jean Valjean in the Lamb’s Player’s production of Les Miserables.
Edward’s use of tall tales to explain his personal history frustrates his son. His son, Will Bloom, passionately performed by Michael Cusimano as the adult Will, and excellently played by Gavin Reid August as young Will, is a journalist interested in facts.
As Will tries to love and understand his father and his fantastical stories, themes of purpose, protection, and personality are woven together in this expertly crafted play.
Mike Buckley, the set designer, has created a most surprising and fantastic set. The Light Designer, Nathan Persion, worked to add to the magic and fantasy.
Theater-goer Ken Bryan noted that, throughout the performance “there is constant visual surprise and magical events.”
There is a magical fish, a fortune-telling witch, a giant, a werewolf, and more. All of these characters are beautifully appropriate to the story. The story has a bit of a Wizard of Oz feel.
The Choreographer, Javier Velasco’s talent shines with the dancers and actors delivering notable performances. They wear enchanting costumes that add to the spectacle.
The Witch, played by Anise Ritchie, is a character worthy of the Broadway hit musical, Oz . Edward’s wife, Sandra Bloom, played by Kelsy Venter, and Will’s wife, Josephine Bloom, played by Caitie Grady, were also beautifully performed.
There are some jokes with sexual innuendo and an adult situation is implied, but youngsters who shouldn’t be getting these jokes and situations, will probably miss them completely.
There were some opening-night glitches that added to the charm of local theater.
Either the microphones at the beginning of the First Act did not accentuate the male actors’ strong vocals, or maybe the actors themselves needed to gain confidence; the first two songs didn’t reflect the strength of their performances as the performance progressed.
The programs were not available until the Second Act, but that only added comedy as it was explained that a new delivery person had dropped off the programs at the Coronado Playhouse at the Community Center. In the meantime, Lamb’s provided a one-sheet description of all vital information before the play began.
A piano had to be replaced during intermission, but if audience members hadn’t been told, they would have never known. The music matched the majesty of the actors voices.
This is an all-round perfect summer play: one that is fun for younger audience members, and has meaningful themes for adults to think about long after the play is over.