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The Who's Tommy

Published by: Kate Braxton on 1st Aug 2015 | View all blogs by Kate Braxton

WHO...AHHHHH!  I’m not going to Fiddle About here, this production is a total Sensation. It seriously Sparks. Tommy by The Who, currently playing at Greenwich Theatre is the best thing I’ve seen in at least 10 years – and I don’t say that lightly. It’s an Amazing Journey courtesy of the team directed by Michael Strassen, and everyone with him should be very excited about forthcoming reviews. 

It’s rare to have such beautiful ‘tightness’ between a cast and crew. There isn’t a musical moment missed, the lighting and sound cues are sexily curated, thanks in many ways to the brilliance of Kevin Oliver Jones as Musical Director and chief guitarist. The set design and prop use is ingenious but not over indulgent. We don’t see one pinball machine. It’s way cleverer than that – emotional, sensitive stuff.

The cast are all clad in white, which gives a stunning visual playground for lighting designer, David Howe onto the several Freddie Mercury lookie-likies.

And on that note, the casting is inspired: John Barr as Uncle Ernie put the fear of God into me, as he should do in yellow socks and those dreadful plastic pre-cursor-to-Crocs sandals. Giovanni Spano plays Cousin Kevin with more kick than Kenickie in Grease. Captain Walker shaped by James Sinclair and Miranda Wilford as Mrs Walker provide incredibly touching moments: great voices, perfect timing required for a show such as Tommy.

And Tommy himself played by Ashley Birchall is astonishing. I saw him, felt him, touched him and it was divine.

But for me, the final winning piece is the choreography by Mark Smith. Mark is profoundly deaf and produces some of the most unbelievable scenes and moves in a show I’ve ever seen. I can’t gush any more. This is production and show wizardry at its best. Not short of a miracle. I couldn’t believe my own eyes.

Tommy is running at Greenwich Theatre from Wed 29 July - Sun 23 August 2015.

Presented by Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment, Guy James and Szpiezak Productions in association with Greenwich Theatre

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Photos courtesy of Claire Bilyard




  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 3 years ago
    Thanks, Kate. Sounds like a "wizard" production!
  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 3 years ago
    Love the "fiddle" pun! ;)
  • Kate Braxton
    by Kate Braxton 3 years ago
    A bit of a pun-tastic review Cammy, but I have had great chats with many of the cast and crew subsequently. They're rightly over the moon. Go see!
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