Thomas W. Hodgkinson

Big: The Musical

By David Shire, Richard Maltby Jr and John Weidman
Dominion, London

The age-swap comedy Big isn’t wholly helped by being turned into a musical. The joy of the 1988 movie lay in the contrast between the supple innocence of our man- child hero, Josh — a 12-year-old boy magically transformed into a grown-up by a wish he makes at a funfair — and the stiff adults at the toy company where he gets a job. Trouble is, in a musical, everyone behaves like a child. Even so, there’s a lot to enjoy in this zingy adaptation, which premiered on Broadway in the 1990s. The big-budget sets are great and some of the musical numbers pop (particularly Coffee, Black and The Real Thing). If Jay McGuiness can’t match Tom Hanks (Josh in the film) for childness, he’s surely a better dancer. Kimberley Walsh sings beautifully as his confused love interest and Matthew Kelly is good fun as the grouchy CEO. Overall, this jolly musical transforms adults in the audience into children, while the children get a glimpse of adult life. My five-year-old was mesmerised.