Thursday, 20 April 2017

“Tommy – The Musical”
Nottingham Playhouse.
After witnessing the accidental murder of his mother's lover by his father, Tommy is traumatized, and as the boy grows, he suffers abuse at the hands of his sadistic relatives and neighbours. As an adolescent, he’s discovered to have an uncanny knack for playing pinball, and when his mother finally breaks through his catatonia, he becomes an international pinball superstar.
The classic '60s rock opera by The Who was translated to the stage by theatrical wizard Des McAnuff into a high-energy, one-of-a-kind theatrical event. The score is timeless in its appeal, giving the show a cross-generational appeal that has made it a smash-hit in high schools and colleges around the world as well as in the theatrical environment. A small rock band orchestration and spectacular original Broadway production slides allow you to capture the excitement on a modest budget.
The Rock Opera Tommy, which was first performed by The Who in 1969, was originally conceived by Pete Townshend and Kit Lambert with contributions by John Entwhistle, Keith Moon and Roger Daltrey.
There’s the classics from the album such as “Pinball Wizard”, “Tommy Can you Hear Me”, “See Me Feel Me” and “I’m Free” as well as some new stuff written especially for the new touring production by Pete Townshend.
This is probably one of the best things I've seen this year with an amazing cast of 22 performers and musicians, many of various disabilities, which show that there really are no boundaries in theatre.
William Grint (Tommy) is magnetic to watch as the deaf, dumb and blind kid. Looking at William's CV though is more than proof that being deaf is no barrier in theatre land.
Providing the voices of Tommy were a pair of very good vocalists, Julian Capolei and Matthew Jacobs-Morgan.
Tommy's dad, Captain Walker, is played by Olly Murs lookalike, Max Runham. Max has a great voice for musical theatre. He's also a solo artist in his own right as well as playing in a band.
Donna Mullings (Tommy's mother, Nora) brings so much emotion through her acting and face. Her voice is provided by a beautiful vocalist called Shekinah McFarlane.
Alim Jayda (Frank, Tommy's stepdad) also shows off some very impressive vocal talents and some nifty footwork as well.
The baddies in this musical, Cousin Kevin, played by the very boyish Lukus Alexander, and Uncle Ernie, played by Garry Robson, are both quite sinister behind their smiley faces. Both received playful booing at their curtain call.
My personal highlight of this production was The Acid Queen. Played in the film by Tina Turner, this role needed an amazing vocalist and character. I can safely say that I forgot Ms Turner when the legend that is Peter Straker appeared on stage. At 73 years of age, this man's falsetto made the hairs on my neck stand on end. His vocals are incredible and his presence on stage was vibrant. How he manages to walk in those heels is an amazing task as well.
The whole cast were just incredible. It shows that today to make incredible theatre, as an actor, you need to do so much more than just be able to act, sing and dance. This theatre company pushes the theatre bar and taunts the others to reach their level.
Directed by Kerry Michael. What can I say? It's an amazing production!
Musical Director is Robert Hyman. The music is played live on stage. Nice and loud, giving a "gig" style atmosphere. This band created such an exciting atmosphere, and with this being a rock opera, the music was practically non-stop.
Choreography by Mark Smith. He gave such a stylish, quite balletic and contemporary feel to the rock backing. A veritable feast for the eyes.
Sound Design by Andrew Johnson (for Creative Technology). Crystal clear. There was no straining my ears here. Some may have grumbles about it being too loud, but not for me. I loved the power of the live band and the big vocals. And there were no issues hearing the other vocals as well. the mix was spot on, for me.
It came as no surprise that the New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich Production in co operation with Ramps On The Moon received a total standing ovation from the
appreciative audience. I was proud to be one of the first to get to my feet to show what I thought of this amazing musical and the incredible cast.
"Tommy" is at the Nottingham Playhouse until Saturday 29 April.
If you only see one musical this month, go and see this one. I guarantee you'll not regret it!

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