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The Little Big Things | Soho Place

It is not everyday that one packs up their entire life in a country they have only lived in to come to a completely new country to submerge themselves around extraordinary musical theatre shows, venues, and creatives in hopes to one day perform on the West End. As an unfamous American professional actor, my dream, and goal, is to originate a role. How do I do that, though? I study others who have done, or currently doing, the same within the works of new musicals.

I first heard of this musical back in June during the West End Live event that was being held while I was here sorting things out for my move in September. The cast sang the title track, “The Little Big Things” and answered some questions about the show itself and what the process has been like getting ready for its world premiere. From then, I knew that I had to see the show as the song, and the testimonies from the actors, captured my attention leaving me wanting to know, and see, more.

I was able to do that tonight while watching the new British musical, The Little Big Things. This new musical is written and based on the memoir created by Henry Fraser. A story all about how one's life changed in the blink of an eye beautifully weaved through the melody, lyric, and movement created by an incredible team of creatives. This show encompasses so many different beautiful moments, themes, and lessons that one can take with them long after the last note is played.

Musicals, and plays for that matter, about one’s life can be difficult to create, especially if there is already a written publication out, but Joe White, the writer of the script, did an impeccable job in telling this tragically beautiful event that took place in Fraser’s life. Every word was so carefully chosen, well thought out, and allowed you as an audience member to be captivated and engaged throughout the entire show. White’s writing truly allows for the heart of Fraser’s hardships to shine, but also allows for some comedic relief to allow the audience time to also see the joy’s in Fraser’s life. White also captures the pain of Fraser’s family and how what happened to him affected the way they lived, thought, and reacted in a way that allows you to see a piece of you. White writes Fraser as two persons, one from the past, played by Jonny Amies, and one from the present, played by Ed Larkin. Each actor shares about the same amount of time on stage telling the story. Both do a phenomenal job at taking White’s composition and delivering it to the audience allowing us to see the struggles of holding on to the past, while clinging to the here and now.

Not only can the book be tricky to write, but the music and lyrics can be as well, especially if they lack meaning, depth, and creativity. Musical team Nick Butcher and Tom Ling have taken White’s book and have created such a beautiful score. Each note, melody, and lyric truly captures the hardships, joys, and emotion Fraser felt in this particular season of his life. If I were to describe the writing style, I would compare it to Dear Evan Hansen, in the respect that each song is written to allow the audience to put themselves in the shoes of Fraser to get a small taste of what it may feel like to have your world flipped upside down, which many of us have, or will, experience in life. The music not only allows you to feel the pain of Fraser’s story, but allows you to dance in the victories as well.

My second all time favourite (the all time favourite is in the next paragraph) piece of any musical, or play, is seeing how the choreographer, lighting designer, and set designer take the book, music, and lyrics and bring them to life in their respective areas. Mark Smith and Joseph Fletcher have choreographed this show so well, thinking through every note and lyric. Every movement they have created enhances the story that the actors are telling the audience. The lights, designed by Fay Fullerton, allow every moment that needs highlighting to be seen. They allow you, as an audience member, to be drawn into the story as if you were there when the events actually took place. The set, designed by Colin Richmond, allows you to feel part of the story. Though the stage is built in a round, there is no scene or moment that is missed. This also gives you an interactive feel of being in the story as the actors are moving through the audience coming on and off stage and at times, making eye contact with you as if you belonged right on stage with them.

My all time favourite is seeing how the director and actors take all these pieces and bring them to fruition to audiences that come and see the show. I am not kidding when I say that each and every person, director and actor, knocked it out of the park. You can truly tell that Luke Sheppard, the director, thought about every detail, big and small, that this show encompasses. You never asked “why was this choice made?” or “why did they move there?” because Sheppard made sure that every move was intentional and supported the heart of what the show was meant to be. Linzi Hateley portrays Fran Fraser, Henry’s mother. Hateley does a phenomenal job taking us through every emotion a mother feels when tragedy to their child happens. In the first act, she gives a powerful performance through song that leaves the audience in tears as she processes through the struggle Henry is now having to face. Alongside Hateley is Alasdair Harvey who portrays Andrew Fraser, Henry’s father. Harvey, too, hits the nail on the head giving life to this character that many fathers can relate to in a way. I was truly blown away by both of these actors, as well as the rest of the cast.

In all, The Little Big Things is the most beautiful piece of new work that the West End has seen in a long time. A show I never knew that I needed to experience until I did. It left me in awe of the life and legacy of Henry Fraser and challenged me to learn the little things that life allows me to go through, accept and learn from the last, and embrace the future with a new, fresh, and positive outlook.

This gorgeous show is playing now until 25th November at Soho Place, which is a beautiful new venue that just celebrated their first year being open. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.

{AD | Gifted} Written by Marcus Collick | Photography by Pamela Raith

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