|Date||2nd April 2022|
|Society||Local Amateur Musical Players (LAMPS)|
|Venue||E.M.Forster Theatre, Tonbridge|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Musical Director||Amanda Philip|
Author: Doreen Grierson
LAMPS have waited two years for ‘Tommy’ to finally appear on stage, was the wait worth it? – absolutely.
‘Tommy’ is described as a rock opera with words and lyrics by Pete Townshend, first performed by ‘The Who’ in 1969. It has a very strong storyline of young Tommy who witnesses his father killing his mother’s lover. As a result, he becomes deaf, dumb and blind. Growing up, Tommy is mistreated by some relatives but his parents try everything by taking him to doctors and even a gypsy. The only thing that helps him is playing pinball. His mother smashes a mirror, which shocks him into reality. Being a pinball champion, he has quite a following but when he sees a young girl being abused he decides the limelight is not for him and returns to the family home.
Some wonderful sets were constantly changing in this fast moving musical and I liked the way the changing years were portrayed with some back projection, from when Tommy was born to his pinball stardom. Costumes were good but I have to mention the ’policewoman’ who was wearing a very modern hat and not 1940’s at all! Lighting design by Harvey Ebbage made the sets and scenes come alive. An important part of this production is the music and the nine-piece band, although necessarily loud, were fantastic. Set on the back of the stage they were there playing for the whole of the show. An excellent job by MD Amanda Philip to guide both singers and musicians through what must have been a mammoth score.
Tommy is portrayed by three different actors. Young Tommy (Charlie Boorman) and Teen Tommy (Scott Boorman) had to remain apathetic the whole time, which is quite an achievement for these youngsters – well done. Adult Tommy (Harry Hickmott) gave a powerful performance as did all of the named cast, ensemble and dancers. I have to mention Lelia Di Domenica who played the ‘Gypsy’ whose vocal range is awe inspiring. I just hope that everyone has some voice left after what must have been a challenging week vocally.
‘Tommy’ is not everybody’s cup of tea because it is loud, powerful and energetic but you cannot ignore the message it tries to put across and the superb music.