“one leaves the theatre with Shakespeare’s view of life as a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing, ringing in one’s ears…Sadly, that same technology conspires to keeps him from touching us on any human level — and that’s what theatre is all about finally.”
Nestruck notes that Des McAnuff’s direction of the of mistreated child “seems superficial and slight at a time when bullying is national news and shocking abuse scandals have exploded”. He adds “Only Jeremy Kushnier…finds both emotional and dramatic resonance.”
Ouzounian praises all the actors, including Jeremy Kushnier’s Captain Walker whose “struggle is deeply touching” and Steve Ross’ “complex, nearly tragic” Uncle Ernie..but concludes: “We want to touch the soul of the ’60s, not feel like we’re trapped in an ’80s rock video.”
Reid credits Markus for bringing “a humanity to the role [of Tommy]“, and Ross as Uncle Ernie who “makes the character believable by refusing to reduce him to a cardboard cut-out of the Bad Uncle”. However, he believed “The eye-popping digital technology might well be the star of the show.”
In Cushman’s review of multiple shows, Cushman called “Tommy” thrilling despite what he calls the “sickly piece of rock-hero mythology” libretto. He thought “The Three Musketeers” sacrificed humour for plot details.
Monaghan found “Markus is in fine voice, though like most of the performers — except maybe for Ross’ strangely sympathetic Uncle Ernie — he often feels like another part of the set design.” He concludes the production “grabs you from its first ear-splitting guitar note (a fun gimmick to start a show), but it isn’t especially rock ’n’ roll.”
Slotkin notes “There is not one surface on either a wall or prop that does not have a blinking, flashing light on it over which might be a projection or some other kind of distraction.” She found it difficult to engage with the hard working cast “because of all that flashing distraction.”
“Nolan is electric, blending the incredible vocal range we’ve come to expect from him with surprisingly impressive comedic ability and boundless energy. It’s hard to take your eyes off him (and those red doc martens) whenever he’s on the stage.”
“Surrounded by all this technical whizzbangery, Tommy feels cold, sterile, and devoid of heart. Most of the time, people seemed to be going through the motions, almost as if the actors’ primary concern was to get out of the way of the moving sets”.
Fischer finds common themes in the various productions he saw, including “Tommy”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Waiting For Godot” and a preview of “Taking Shakespeare”. He notes “Cimolino has succeeded, spectacularly — allowing plays written and set centuries apart to speak to each other and to us in new ways.”
Jones states “Taking Shakespeare” “feels like one of those contrived dramas written expressly to fill a slot”. He regards “Mary Stuart”, “Waiting for Godot” and “Blithe Spirit”. He gives kudos to Stewart, French and Hutton in “Fiddler on the Roof” and Kushnier and Nolan in “Tommy”.
Dale recognizes Tommy’s post-war storyline “still holds real power”, in “this annoying prefabricated age of instant celebrity (thank you reality TV),” stating “Townsend’s songs still pack that proverbial punch.”
Blogger Godfrey states Kushnier “must have been born to do rock opera…and Jewelle Blackman’s goose-bump-raising Gypsy channels the iconic Tina Turner.” Godfrey adds kudos to the “123 professionals working behind-the-scenes…who also deserve applause for the technological marvel that is Tommy.
“This was a spectacular production in terms of its multi-media effects, vivid costumes, world-class dancing and singing, and, if Pete Townshend’s music is to your taste, great playing out of the pit band and the state of the art sound system at the Avon.”
Alderson praises the cast, from an “excellent” Kushiner to a “charming” Rider-Shaw. “The ensemble has great energy, handling many costume changes and personas throughout the night. Wayne Cilento’s choreography is powerful, delivered by dynamic dancers.”
“…the team pushed the envelope much as they did the first time around. McAnuff makes the most of the technology available to him with enormous LED screens and automated set pieces, a scooter that zips across the stage and plenty of pinball machines…including one that tilts and whirls with fire and pyrotechnics. “
“With so much visual and audio stimulation, it’s a risk that the actors themselves could be lost amongst the technical wizardry. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen, as Tommy’s principle cast and talented chorus sweat under the lights to ensure they exude as much energy as the electrical magic surrounding them.”
Dorian regards “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Measure for Measure”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Tommy”. He praises Feore’s “inspired direction and choreography” in “Fiddler on the Roof” and the “successful ensemble effort” in “Measure for Measure”. Dorian calls Topham “a luminous Juliet” and states “Cilento’s choreography is thrilling”.