Tommy was the first musical to be specifically billed as a 'Rock Opera', and to this day remains one of the most defining examples of the genre. Starting as an album, then a film and finally making it to the stage in 1993, it's set in post-WWII Britain following the life of 'deaf, dumb and blind kid' Tommy Walker. The whole show is purely sung-through, advancing the narrative through Pete Townshend's terrific score.
Spotlites Youth Theatre Company therefore has a lot to deliver to do a work this big justice, and deliver they do - in truck loads.
Having personally seen the London production many years ago, I can confidently report this is every bit as good. The staging is simply terrific, rich with atmosphere and excellent use of simple props to give a real fluidity to the scene changes. The performances from all involved, even the more minor roles, is focused and engaging. The direction has real style, and the attention to detail phenomenal. As for the important bit, the singing, it's absolutely spot on.
The leading players, Aaron Millard as Captain Walker, Lauryn Webb as Mrs Walker and Gary Sansom as Tommy all deliver incredible performances. Perhaps the most noteworthy, however, is Luke Millard, as 10 year old Tommy; whose hauntingly centred portrayal was a rare talent beyond his years.
For an ostensibly youth group, Spotlites are showing professional companies at the Fringe how to do theatre.