Tommy Review 1996
The production is superb. The unknown 19 year old Paul Keating is marvellous as Tommy, he has so much energy and passion, he really looked the part.
There are some wonderful sets with the stage changing constantly in this fast moving musical. It all flows smoothly and you have to thank the mechanics behind the curtain for this. I liked the way they staged the passing years from when Tommy was born and how he became deaf, dumb and blind to his stardom as a pinball champion.
I must admit before the show that I did not expect Tommy to be singing or saying anything because of his ailments, but how clever they get around this. The only low point was Kim Wilde's voice, which sounded a little weak, maybe she had a problem on the night. If you don't mind loud music, go and treat yourself to this spectacular musical and admire the whole production from top to bottom because it is simply breathtaking and brilliant.
This isn't an average musical. It is more like a rock opera. Still, it has a very strong, moving story-line. It tells the story of the young Tommy who witnesses his father killing his mother's lover. As a result of that, Tommy becomes deaf, dumb and blind. Tommy grows up and is abused by an uncle and mistreated by a cousin. His parents are desperate and take him to doctors and even to a witch. Tommy stays apathetic . Only when he plays pinball, he comes alive. Finally he snaps out of his shock, when his mother crashes a mirror. He instantly becomes a hero and everybody follows him. But when his bodyguards hit on an innocent girl, Tommy is fed up with his life in the spotlights. He returns home to his mother and father.
Tommy at age 20 is played with a lot of power by Paul Keating. He constantly looks at the people in the audience and put them under a spell. He's simply marvellous! The two younger Tommy's (age 4 and age 10) had to stay apathetic the whole time, which is quiet an achievement for young children! The special effects, especially in the second half, are impressive. The settings are modern, simple, with a touch of Andy Warhole. To put it in a few words: Tommy is loud, powerful and energetic. It is the fastest show I've ever seen. You'll leave the theatre absolutely exhausted. Maybe you don't like it instantly, but when you look back on it, you'll love it!