With its sentimental plot it might seem the perfect candidate for being turned into a musical and Andrew Lippa (responsible for the music and lyrics) has provided a couple of strong numbers among several forgettably pleasant ones.
But this story of a travelling Alabama salesman Edward Bloom (Grammer) reliving the fantastic stories with which he used to amuse Will, his now thirty-something, newly-married (to an underused Frances McNamee) son when he was growing up is a whimsical, somewhat underpowered affair.
In his tall tales of encounters with a green witch and a lonely giant (Dean Nolan), a life in the circus and a spell at sea, Edward’s younger self (energetically performed by Jamie Muscato) is always the hero. Now, as Edward lies on his death bed after a stroke, Will wants to know the real truth about the frequently absent, apparently ordinary man who is his dad.
Rose-tinted past and worrying present overlap, Forbes Masson makes an impact as a reappearing baddy who is finally tamed by an unexpected love, and Clare Burt is touching as Edward’s caring wife. But ultimately this slimmed down version of the 2013 Broadway show makes a rather smaller splash than one might hope for from the flashbacks of a kindly – if incorrigible – fantasist.
St James, Palace Street, SW1E 5JA
Until 31st December 2017