A lot of the magical elements that are so intrinsic to “Big Fish” are decidedly harder to capture and convey in a theatrical setting — unlike a book (which can devote innumerable pages to descriptive exposition, if not simply leaving things to the reader’s imagination) or a movie (which can rely on computerized special effects to visualize events).
Key’s staging is fairly evocative, under the circumstances, with the notable exception of a sequence involving a flood. On the other hand, in one of the show’s more memorable musical moments (Floyd’s “I Don’t Need a Roof”), he actually incorporates rain into the scene.
In another (Smith and Floyd’s “Daffodils”), flower petals drift down from above the stage, to lovely effect. For a few of the bigger group numbers, however, it’s an awkward distraction to have Floyd, Thorpe and Julissa Sabino (as Will’s pregnant wife) stepping out of character to help fill in the chorus.
The generally pleasing score is by Andrew Lippa, performed under the splendid music direction of S. Renee Clark, leading a six-piece band. Among other song highlights: Smith and Floyd’s “Time Stops,” Smith and Bowles’ “Fight the Dragons” and — perhaps most aptly of all — Smith’s “Be the Hero.”
In more ways than one, it seems, he saves the day.
Through Dec. 18. 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. $22-$48. The Balzer Theater at Herren's, 84 Luckie St., Atlanta. 678-528-1500, www.theatricaloutfit.org.
Bottom line: A fairly good show, an even better showcase for Travis Smith.