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The Little Big Things - Theatre Review

The Little Big Things is a MOMENTOUS success for London’s newest build theatre in 50 years. For a musical I had not heard much about, had not heard the soundtrack to, and had no idea of the heart wrenching story, I can honestly say I was thoroughly delighted with my last minuet decision to see this theatrical masterpiece.

The show begins with Henry Fraser (Ed Larkin) rolling onto the stage and addressing the audience directly and begins to tell the story of how he came to be in the wheelchair. This story is the perfect balance of heartbreaking and heartwarming. We see the Fraser family before, during and after the events that would leave their 3rd oldest son paralysed from the neck down after a diving incident on holiday with his brothers. The musical also gives a look into the wonderful work of the NHS and those who inspired Henry to carry on his battle when he thought all was lost.

Based on the best-selling autobiography of the same name, the story follows an ordinary family after an unfortunate event. Henry Fraser played rugby for a premiership Rugby Club until a freak driving accident changed everything in 2009. Determined to succeed and adapt to the new life he was handed, Henry managed to wheel himself out of the hospital an entire year quicker than his medical team had predicted; this determination is perhaps the reason he went on to be a successful artist, best-selling author, and inspirational speaker.

Many of the scenes involve post-accident Henry reminiscing on his past, trying to battle with the shadow of his former self, portrayed by the exceptionally talented Jonny Amies. The youthful energy and incredible vocals of Amies were captivating, to the point I was occasionally watching his reaction to the events on stage over the actual actions - now that is acting! Not only was the performance a truly emotional journey on the stage, The Little Big Things Musical is also genuinely funny, without trying too hard. The writer (Joe White) has created such vivid and believable characters, I particularly like the character Agnes, played by Amy Trigg. To write a likeable character who is sarcastic 90% of the time is an honest-to-God skill.

The musical is filled with a delightful mix of original songs in a pop music/balled style, which are instantly catchy and memorable - I only wish the entire soundtrack were available on Spotify so I could hear them all again and again! Nick Butcher and Tom Ling have a bright and successful career ahead of them if this is the quality of music and lyrics - though both have had previous successes in acting and writing prior to their collaboration.

The staging of the show was simple and effective, no need for shiny sets and complicated scenery. Three wooden boxes, a few fly-in hospital signs and the fly-in ropes was all that was needed to transport the audience from place to place. The entire stage floor is a giant video screen which constantly shows vibrant colours which represent the characters path, and story of emotions. My biggest criticism of the show was the obvious and overuse of colour, for example “I saw the greenest grass” cue the entire stage and surrounding lights illuminating the stage a grassy green. However, to call this a criticism is pushing it as it does aid the narrative of the characters journey from budding rugby star to budding artist. That said my secondary criticism is the use of swearing - I do not think it needed to be that sweary.

I was truly overwhelmed by the quality of this production, the entire team has pulled together to create a sonic, visual, and almost immersive experience that will keep audiences returning for more. The soundtrack for the musical is set to be released in the near future and the run at @SohoPlace has been extended until March 2024 (at the time of writing!). This is a show that you do not want to miss, and whilst I hope for its longevity on the West-End stage, I cannot wait for it to tour the UK so I can give all my London-phobic friends the experience of this magnificent play.

The Little Big Things is playing at @SohoPlace until the 2nd of March 2024. Runtime approx. 2 hours 20 minutes. Tickets from £30.


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