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Tom, a Story of Tom Jones, the Musical @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

Published by: Yvonne Delahaye on 6th Apr 2016 | View all blogs by Yvonne Delahaye

The word ‘legend’ is often bandied around about people whose achievements have been somewhat minor.  Tom Jones, however, really has earned the title of ‘legend in his own lifetime’ with over 50 years since reaching number 1 with ‘It’s Not Unusual’ in 1965. Since then, he has sung many forms of popular music – pop, rock, R&B, show tunes, country, dance, soul, and gospel – and sold over 100 million records. Jones has had thirty-six Top 40 hits in the United Kingdom and nineteen in the United States; some of his notable songs "What's New Pussycat", "Delilah", "Green, Green Grass of Home", "She's a Lady", "Kiss", and "Sex Bomb".

Photo by Simon Gough courtesy of The Waterside Theatre

Jones was awarded an OBE in 1999 and received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for "services to music" in 2006. He has received many other awards throughout his career, including the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1966, an MTV Video Music Award in 1989, and two Brit Awards, winning Best British Male in 2000 and Outstanding Contribution to Music in 2003. From 2012 to 2015 Jones was one of the four coaches on the BBC television talent show The Voice UK.

TOM. A Story Of Tom Jones. The Musical is written by Mike James and directed by Geinor Styles, with musical direction by Ben Goddard, set design by Sean Crowley and sound design by Mike Beer.  The story charts Tom’s early life in Ponypridd with his teenage sweetheart, Linda Trenchard, whom he married a month before their baby son, Mark, was born, when they were both 16. Linda is clearly a very strong woman, who completely supported Tom’s ambitions at the expense of her own life.  It takes a woman of enormous strength to allow their partner to follow their dreams, even with the knowledge that he was cheating on her during that time.  Much has been written about their relationship over the years, but their marriage has endured all these years and that is testament to a deep, unconditional love.

Kit Orton plays the hip swivelling Tom, whose voice and moves has everyone enthralled and he clearly had something very special that was recognised early on.  Elin Phillips plays his long-suffering wife Linda, showing a depth to her character that gives us an insight into how this couple survived all this time.

The show takes us on a journey of 8 years, with Tom playing the pubs and clubs, striving for success.  I’m sure this grounding has enabled Tom to keep reinventing himself and stay at the top of his game all these years.  With reality TV offering a quick route to success nowadays, I doubt many of today’s new stars will be known in 50 years time.

If you’re a fan of Tom (and let’s face it, who isn’t?), it’s a great night to give you an insight into his early performing years.  There are some great songs along the way and a few to sing along with at the end. 

Director Geinor Styles said: “Just very occasionally an opportunity comes along that has the words ’perfect fit’ written all the way through it like a stick of rock.  In this case it’s rock and roll and the compelling story of the early days of this county’s most famous son – the living legend that is Sir Tom Jones.”

The development of this production has been supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government, RCT, NPT Theatres and Wales Millennium Centre.

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye



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