Presented by Northern Light Theatre Company
Reviewed 10 October 2015
Playing the role of the ‘older’ Josh Baskin, a nearly thirteen year old granted his wish to be ‘big’ and waking up to find himself grown to adult-size, won Tom Hanks a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for the 1988 fantasy rom-com, Big.
Charlie Smith, playing the same role in Northern Light’s musical version will most certainly have people sitting up taking notice of him. Smith is simply sensational as the 13 year old who inadvertently finds himself as an adult. He is a true ‘triple threat’, singing, dancing and acting his way delightfully into our hearts. Smith delivers innocence with panache and a very bubbly believability without ever ‘crossing the line’ (song reference).
As toy company executive, Susan Lawrence, Kate Dempsey proves once again what a truly versatile performer she is – dance, vocals and acting all perfect. Her chemistry with Smith is absolutely wonderful to watch.
As the ‘young’ Josh, Jack Raft is a budding young star in his own right, with Daniel Vickers as best friend Billy, delivering on the potential he displayed in Happy Days: the musical.
Smith, Dempsey, Raft and Vickers are aided and abetted extremely well by Angus Smith, Tom Drenthen and Dione Baker.
Whilst Big doesn’t quite work for this reviewer as a musical, this particular production comes alive due to its stellar leads; David Gauci’s lovely little touches and direction; Emma Knights’ musical direction and great band; and Shenayde Wilkinson-Sarti’s energetic, lively dance routines, performed well by the entire cast.
Northern Light Theatre Company should receive a BIG pat on the back for presenting something new and original. If for nothing else, go see Big for Smith and Dempsey alone.
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Venue: Shedley Theatre Playford Civic Centre, Elizabeth
Season: 9 – 24 October 2015
Duration: 2 hours 30 mins (including interval)
Tickets: Adults $32 Conc $27 Family $98 Group Adult $30 conc $25
Bookings: Book on line at http://www.northernlight.org.au/tickets or phone 8281 0526 (9am-9pm) or BASS 0n 131 246