The Herald (Plymouth) on Quad musical
brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Thu May 14 11:19:40 UTC 2009
Mod musical sets audience on fire
Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 14:57
THE original mods and rockers of half a century ago maybe showing (or disguising) some grey hairs now, but they turned out in force to celebrate this new musical.
So did a lot of younger patrons keen to see just what the culture or phenomenon was that enveloped their parents and grandparents in the late '60s and '70s, and to experience live on stage Pete Townshend's music.
And incidentally, to marvel at the array of pristine mod scooters, bristling with mirrors and lamps, ranged outside the theatre.
The show is virtually Townshend's creation, concept, music and lyrics.
Set in London and Brighton, it traces the flowering of the Mod movement, elements of which remain in today's music and fashion. It explores the coming of age story of Jimmy, rebellious, unsettled and unfulfilled.
No one, least of all his abusive, bullying father, understands him. He seeks a place where he can belong, and a girl to share it with. Restless, he takes a trip to Brighton at the time of the riots, where he meets violence and tragedy. The message is that no one stays young forever.
The rock opera unfolds in a string of musical numbers, without dialogue. Intriguingly, the four aspects of Jimmy's character – romantic, tough guy, lunatic, hypocrite – are portrayed simultaneously by four different actors.
The staging and direction are inspired, but ultimately the show will stand or fall by the number of devotees of the music.
And as Townshend explains in the programme, "It's not youth music. It's the music of the frustrated and dissatisfied looking for some sort of musical panacea".
And that's the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow. But it all adds up to a couple of hours that suck you in, chew you up, and spit you out exhilarated, drained, but positively on fire.
-Brian in Atlanta
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