Victorian Opera: The Who’s Tommy

The Who’s Tommy was first offered in Melbourne on the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in 1973, however this dazzling, totally staged manufacturing by Victorian Opera can rightly be referred to as a premiere – it’s a very completely different model and one which takes full benefit of the technical wizardry of contemporary theatre.

Judging from the cheers when the primary chord was struck, The Who’s Tommy continues to draw a number of admirers. By the top of the present, the rowdy standing ovation was additional proof that trendy audiences could be stunned by the music, the story and a completely skilled efficiency crackling with the dynamic vitality worthy of this iconic rock opera.

With music and lyrics by Pete Townshend and extra music and lyrics by John Entwistle and Keith Moon, the story has advanced into an final message of hope that continues to be related and continues to be consoling to many. It’s stunning, poignant and in important respects recognisable. As a four-year-old, Tommy is traumatised by witnessing, through a mirrored image within the mirror, the homicide of his mom’s new companion by his father, who has returned from an extended internment in a World Struggle 2 prisoner of struggle camp and believed to be useless. Deaf, dumb and blind, he suffers additional trauma as a ten-year-old by the hands of his paedophile Uncle Bertie and sadistic Cousin Kevin. After a climactic scene during which his annoyed dad and mom drive him to fairly actually smash his means via his ache, additional enlightenment comes when Tommy witnesses the merciless remedy a younger fan. He is ready to reject the pressures and expectations of others, who search to use his movie star as a pinball wizard, and dwell on his personal phrases as an built-in persona.

For Victorian Opera, the Creatives have mixed to provide an ingeniously highly effective theatrical expertise. The motion befell on a minimalist set the place props have been whisked out and in with most effectivity. Seated on a central again tier, a band of a mere eight musicians on keyboards, drums (an indefatigable Kieran Rafferty), electrical bass and guitars generated a sonic storm – albeit with lulls in moments of pathos, that includes acoustic guitar with exterior mic. Above the band, an enormous display screen enclosed the again of the stage, offering backdrops for the assorted scenes and reflections of Tommy’s emotional state. It’s properly nigh not possible to explain the quantity of visible curiosity and a spotlight to clever element invested within the creation of the kaleidoscopic, continually evolving panoramas. Matt Scott’s good common lighting design amped up the influence even additional, creating electrifying rock and roll vitality and flavour. One of many many highlights was the drenching acid inexperienced illumination as Paul Capsis strutted his riveting no-holds-barred stuff because the Gypsy “Acid Queen” – an actual journey in itself.

Costume designer Isaac Lumnis actually wanted all of these seventeen costumiers listed in this system. As we watched occasions unfold, with dates registered on the screens, the various costumes mirrored the related kinds beautifully. Tommy’s last coat of mirror fragments was an ideal complement to the display screen visuals depicting Tommy’s shattered, disintegrated life. Not solely the garments, but in addition the hairstyles modified with the passing many years – as did Dana Jolly’s scorching choreography. The dancers’ stage of health was astonishing, their capability to bounce so energetically whereas singing defying perception. Even a lot of the essential characters displayed distinctive bodily talent, most notably Vincent Hooper because the merciless Cousin Kevin. An enormous stage persona with a wonderful voice, Hooper was a powerhouse of concentrated aggression.

As Tommy’s equally repellant abuser, Kanen Breen’s dangerous Uncle Ernie, the self-hating drunken baby molester and parasitic exploiter of the older pinball wizard Tommy, mixed his singing and dancing abilities to provide a horribly compelling efficiency – without delay humorous and unnervingly repulsive.

Principals Matt Hetherington (Captain James Walker), and Amy Lehpamer (Mrs Walker), and Mark Doggett, Mark Hill, Nicole Melloy and John O’Hara (members of the Featured Ensemble, who assumed numerous roles) all impressed with their number of polished theatre abilities.

Within the overlapping roles of Narrator and the oldest of the three Tommys, Mat Verevis was constantly partaking, singing one of many key numbers, “See me, really feel me” with poignant sensitivity. Elijah Slavinskis because the ten-year-old Tommy has a tough position because the sufferer of the predatory uncle and cousin. Roger Hodgman’s knowledgeable route ensured a protected area for Slavinskis to play the half convincingly. A really candy and harmless wanting Hamilton Binnie Garcia accomplished the Tommy trio, though I puzzled why he didn’t look like included in within the reunion scene.

Now that each one these irritating delays attributable to the pandemic have lastly been surmounted, every part appeared to go with no hitch on this thrilling, fast-moving, advanced manufacturing. It’s a unprecedented achievement worthy of each single star of a 5 star ranking. Don’t miss it!

Photograph credit score: Jeff Busby


Heather Leviston reviewed the opening night time of “The Who’s Tommy” offered by Victorian Opera on the Palais Theatre, St Kilda, on February 22, 2022.


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