Oxford Times on Quadrophenia
brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 31 12:14:33 UTC 2009
Quadrophenia, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
9:22am Thursday 30th July 2009
By Christopher Gray
There was an audible shudder from those around me in the stalls – old Mods almost to a man – as Jimmy’s chrome-panelled scooter was kicked on to its side, its multiple mirrors crumpling under its weight.
This was no way to treat an example of the Mod era’s iconic form of transport – an icon still respected, as could be judged from the dozens of lovingly preserved Vespas and Lambrettas lined up outside the theatre for this opening night of Pete Townshend’s Quadrophenia.
And Jimmy’s dad (John Schumacher) duly received his punishment – a good belting – for his sacrilege.
The musical, developed from The Who’s seventies album, does not shy away from the brutal aspects of Mod life in celebrating this long-vanished youth culture.
Plot-lite, the show is best seen as an impressionistic depiction of the period, with superb Townshend songs performed by an onstage band in which drummer Greg Pringle shines (almost outdoing Keith Moon).
Ryan O’Donnell (right) is brilliant as one of the four Jimmys (all showing different aspects of his character). But it was, for me, Ryan Gage’s Ace Face who best expressed the sad truth that Mod culture offered merely fleeting moments of fame in what would afterwards be drab lives – in his case, as a superbly performed song put it, as a hotel bell hop.
Until Saturday. Box office: telephone 01242 572573 (www.everymantheatre.org.uk)
-Brian in Atlanta
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