The Little Big Things
Soho Place Theatre
until 25th Nov 2023
“An extraordinary true story about an ordinary family.
When one moment changes everything, Henry’s family are split between a past they no longer recognise, and a future they could never foresee.
Can Mum and Dad rally his three brothers; as the family start a journey to overcome the unimaginable?
Based on the Sunday Times best-selling autobiography by Henry Fraser, The Little Big Things is a new British musical with an explosive theatrical pop soundtrack in a world premiere production.
This uplifting and colourful new musical is a life-affirming reminder about the transformative power of family, and how sometimes it really is the little things which matter the most.
An avid sportsman and academy player with a premiership Rugby club, Henry Fraser’s life changed forever when in 2009 he had a diving accident. From that moment he had a new life to live as a tetraplegic and new circumstances to accept and adapt to. Henry’s defiance and determination to prosper against devastating odds led to him wheeling himself out of hospital a whole year earlier than predicted. Today he is a successful artist, inspirational speaker and best-selling author.
Henry Fraser said: “There have been many things that have happened since my accident that I never thought about in life, never planned and really surprised me, in a great way. This musical is one of those moments. The guys have been great to work with and the moment they played me a couple of songs I was sold. I still can’t believe it’s actually happening and it makes me incredibly excited and nervous.”
Review by Richard Lambert, 5 Stars
Back in the 70s, when nightclubs played “disco”, there might be an illuminated floor where you could dance on squares of coloured acrylic. This was considered the height of technology and sophistication. Fifty years later and the floor seen here is a rather large set of video tiles playing integrated video content that accents and emphasises the music, stage blocking and graphical imagery that’s state of the art perfectly blending and enhancing the production. Clearly, here, the content wasn’t all created off-site and then replayed during the show – it matches the choreography so well that this must have been engineered to some extent on-site working closely with the director and choreograher. This is probably the best representation of video content integration into a show to be seen anywhere at the moment.
The lighting is absolutely fabulous! Howard Hudson has pulled out all the stops to create a multi-layered dynamic light plot in a 360 deg performance space without blinding the audience. There are 100s of lighting fixtures that include battens of light beams to follow the actors moving around the stage edges, alongside LED strips that outline and edge stage areas and set pieces. Keeping track of all that’s going on whilst controlling and making artistic decisions is challenging and the results here are very impressive! With many different locations such as underground rave-cave, seaside beaches, indoor spaces, hospitals and abstract, Howard shows sensitivity and mastery of his craft in changing the mood and texture for each environment. Organically responding to the fast-paced action and accenting the soundscape – the detail in the lighting is brilliant!
The set design is entirely 3D. With an audience on 3 levels and surrounding the space on all sides the airspace is used to full effect with set pieces that fly. Too many to actually count! The centre stage scissor-lifts like a staging sung-crescendo lifting the actors, sometimes in a wheelchair, high above the stage level. There is a band sub-stage but you don’t actually see these.
There is also flying in the show. This is possibly the only section of the show that might benefit from a little sprinkling of pixie dust. The accident is re-imagined but not as effectively as it could be. Despite this the finale flying sequence works a treat!
The story is very emotional and took me on a journey. I felt so strongly attached to the family and what they’d been through, and although I knew there would be a specific dramatical point that I was expecting, it still moved me greatly!
Loved the costumes, the music, the acting, the singing, the cast. the creative team, the choreogaphy, the direction and the story. There’s a lot to love here! Even the theatre, the newest venue to be built in the West End is so beautiful! Just across the road from Tottenham Court Road tube station, easily accessible!
The Little Big Things is a full-onslaught of everything from all departments, firing on all cylinders for most of the production. Occasionally feeling like you’re caught up inside a video game, yet it still manages to land the story really successfully. The emotional journey of the show is incredible. As a new British musical everyone involved should be very proud of what’s been achieved. If you only see one big show, this is the one! May it have a future life after this inaugural production run, return, and extend for a very long time!
Ed Larkin as Man Henry Fraser and Jonny Amies as Boy Henry Fraser
Linzi Hateley and Alasdair Harvey as Henry’s parents, Fran Fraser and Andrew Fraser
Jordan Benjamin (Dom)
Rebecca Bowden (Surgeon)
Jamie Chatterton (Tom)
Tom Oliver (Marco)
Malinda Parris (Dr Graham)
Cleve September (Will)
Amy Trigg (Agnes)
Stephen John Davis