"Massive Who fan" plays Tommy

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 28 05:52:32 CDT 2005

>From the Crewe Chronicle at:

A mean pinballer Apr 27 2005
By Ben Jervis, Crewe Chronicle
WHEN Robbie Williams came home with a pinball machine
for his Notting Hill apartment, flatmate Jonathan
Wilkes did not realise he would one day be using those
skills on stage.

The entertainer, who was brought up in Baddeley Green,
is now playing pinball wizard Tommy in a national tour
of The Who's rock musical of the same name.

It opens at the Regent Theatre in Hanley on Monday and
runs until Saturday, May 7.

Jonathan, long known as the superstar's pal, is now a
big name in his own right. He says: 'Rob was a lot
better than me on the pinball but I'm very competitive
so I kept trying.'

He caught Tommy producer Bill Kenwright's eye during
Sky One's The Match, when he scored for the celebrity
team in the 86th minute against a team of football

'As a kid and as a football fan it is something you
dream of,' he says.

'To play in front of a packed-out St James's Park
against a team of legends and score like I did, a shot
and not a cross, was a dream come true.'

Jonathan is returning to The Match for its second
series in October as team captain and he says he can't
wait to work with former England boss Graham Taylor

'I'm really looking forward to it but the pressure
will be on this time. Last series we were the
underdogs and the pros weren't expecting such a rough
ride but

I suppose they will be up for it more this time.

'The team for next series will be pretty much the same
with people like Ben Shephard, Harvey, Darren
Campbell, Tommy Craig, Ralph Little, and Simon from
Blue all taking part. The rest of the squad will have
to take a series of trials to see if they make the

'When it came out I was asked by a couple of lower
league clubs to sign, but I wouldn't change what I do
for anything.'

As a massive fan of The Who, Jonathan says the lead
role in Tommy is a dream come true.

'It is an amazing rock opera and people who come to
see it will be rocking by the end of the night.

'What you usually get with Jonathan Wilkes is a cheeky
wink and a smile and that is enough to get me through
because normally I play the comedy part, a bit of a
Jack the lad. But with this character, playing a deaf,
dumb and blind kid becomes really intense.

'I want to let my personality out but I have to play
the part. The message of the story is 'not everybody
is as well off as ourselves'.'

Wilkes says he can't wait to be home. 'I always look
forward to coming back. Stoke-on-Trent is where I
live, my home. The last time I was at the Regent it
seemed as if the whole of Stoke came to watch and
offer support.'

Royalties from the show will go to the Teenage Cancer
Trust. The Who's Roger Daltrey and producer Bill
Kenwright are patrons. Collections will be made for
the charity at each performance.

For tickets, call the box office on 0870 060 6649.

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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