South Devon Herald Express on Quad musical

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Wed May 13 11:27:23 UTC 2009 

Stunning show from the Mod squad
Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 10:54


VISUALLY and musically stunning from the word go, this new production of Pete Townshend's classic story of teenage alienation is an absolute triumph.

In 1973 Quadrophenia emerged as an intricate and challenging album by Townshend's band The Who.

In 1979 Phil Daniels, who was in the audience to see this performance, took the lead role of Jimmy in an award-winning film version. 

Now comes the stage show, a musical in the true sense of the word in that it has absolutely no dialogue and tells its story entirely through music.

Unable to fit in with his dysfunctional family, Jimmy rebels. A fight with his father leads to his father's death, and a disillusioned Jimmy falls in with the Mod scene of the early Sixties. He follows the Mods to Brighton in an attempt to find himself.

And this is no Summer Holiday.

It's dark and intense, complex and sometimes uncomfortable, driven along at all times by a score that is sometimes gentle and at others thunderous.

To cope with the split personality of Jimmy, his character is played by four actors, constantly on stage at the same time, switching from one to the other to reflect his mood.

All four of them - Rob Kendrick, George Maguire, Jack Roth and particularly Ryan O'Donnell - are excellent as is Sydney Rae White as the girl of his dreams.

Her performance of 'Love Reign O'er Me' at the end of Act One is stunning.

But the whole cast is outstanding in a show which places huge physical demands on them.

Outstanding, too, are the band who spread themselves over a two-storey construction at the back of the stage and give Townshend's songs the going over they deserve.

The set is ingenious, particularly in the second act in which it has to represent a railway station, a pier and a dance hall, among other things, and the lighting and effects built to a crescendo in an extraordinary final 20 minutes that brought a spontaneous roar and standing ovation from the audience.

And they were on their feet cheering even before Pete Townshend emerged from the wings to take a bow.

Guy Henderson

Quadrophenia is at the Theatre Royal until Saturday.

 -Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month! 


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