Her Majesty’s Theatre, Fri Feb 27
As advertised, this certainly was The Who’s Tommy as it has never been seen or heard before. Producer Hal Willner, Director and Arranger, Eric Mingus and Musical Director Giancarlo Vulcano have joined forces to bring this world premiere to the Adelaide Festival.
Traditional fans wanting something to closely resemble The Who’s legendary rock opera may find this does not meet their expectations. This was evident tonight from the lacklustre applause following most songs. There were still familiar glimpses of the original music to ensure the audience could follow what was happening if they already knew the story.
Regardless of whether the brave arrangements were to the audiences liking, there were many incredibly talented musicians on stage. The music was extremely emotive and had such a powerful intriguing sound. This was the clear highlight of the show.
The direction and staging were probably the biggest weakness with the show attempting to be both a music and theatre experience. Rarely did the performers sing out to the audience. They walked around in circles, sang to the back of the stage and had no connection between each other. It felt like the performers and musical director playing with his hair onstage forgot that there was actually an audience out there they were meant to be entertaining.
The stand-out performers were Yael Stone as Tommy and Camille O’Sullivan as Tommy’s Mother, together with Harper Simpson and Elana Stone skilfully playing various supporting characters. Eric Mingus had a superb voice, but no connection with the audience, Gavin Friday was sufficiently creepy as Uncle Ernie, but missed the mark as the Acid Queen, as did Robert Forster as Tommy’s Father.
Keep an open mind and enjoy the fascinating music.
Tommy continues at Her Majesty’s Theatre at various times until Sun Mar 1.
Book at BASS on 131 241 or bass.net.au. Click HERE to book your tickets
Image courtesy of Ryan Stephens