The Who’s, Tommy, was originally written solely as an album out of an idea for a rock opera story by legendary guitarist Pete Townshend. The story tells of a deaf, dumb, and blind boy and his struggles through his family and rise to fame through an unbelievable talent of pinball expertise, all weaved through the songs of the famously written album.
The Greenwich Theatre has been promoting this show through social media for the past few months; before casting was even in process! Between that and the fact that it is one of the greatest albums to be created, it’s pretty safe to say there was a lot of expectation for a good production. And it’s now also safe to say, that Tommy did, in fact, live up to that expectation even more than I thought it would.
Mark Smith’s choreography played a hugely important role in the show, creating the dialogue through movement. Between the swift and smooth dancing paired with Michael Strassen’s direction, it was a perfect accompaniment to the flawless melody of songs.
The cast are really what made the show what it was. They were a phenomenal group of talent, throwing every inch of themselves in the performance, through both the music and choreography – it was clear to see heart from every person on the stage. And this led right the bows at the end of the show, where each actor looked genuinely elated at the standing ovation they were receiving. Beyond that, it was a lot of natural skill – whether it was an acrobatic jump onto the floor, the swinging of a microphone to catch it without a blink, or flawlessly spinning a supersized pinball on a finger, everyone was on point with every movement, both small and large. Which just made the show, and the cast, that much more impressive.
Overall, it was a truly enjoyable night – the crowd was a riot, the actors were high-energy, and the band was rockin’ along on the side too. The show finished with an encore of Pinball Wizard where Guitarist/Musical Director Kevin Oliver Jones mimed a smashing of his guitar, as every true rock star does. I know I’ll be back to catch this show again, and I would highly recommend you make a visit too.
Reviewed by Caity O’Shaughnessy
Photo: Claire Bilyard
The Who’s Tommy is playing at the Greenwich Theatre until 23 August 2015. Click here to book tickets