Reviewed at the Theatre Royal, Brighton
If you ever felt that life was pulling you in two directions at once, then an evening in the company of Jimmy, the central character in Quadrophenia, will have you feeling together again in no time.
Jimmy has four distinct personalities and they are played to perfection by four actors, George Maguire (the Tough Guy), Jack Roth (the Lunatic), Rob Kendrick (the Hypocrite) and Ryan O'Donnell (the Romantic). Each displays through his characteristic the desire and struggle to be part of a dramatically changing world. Four facets of a complex teenager, just trying to fit in.
A good read through the very informative programme will assist those with no prior knowledge of Quadrophenia, as there is no dialogue at all in this rock opera. The storyline moves along with the aid of some powerful and, at times, very emotional imagery, accompanied throughout by the pulsating Pete Townsend score.
The youthful band perform on a two tier gantry towards the back of the stage and their incredible enthusiasm for music, most of which was written many years before they were born, is totally infectious and adds extra weight to the atmosphere created by the equally youthful acting company.
Sydney Rae White in particular is a talent to watch. Her powerful and mature voice well exceeds her 17 years and her incredible performance of "Love, reign o'er me" is as poignant as it is powerful. John Schumacher and Kirsty Malone as Dad and Mum feature heavily in the imagery and they, together with Young Jimmy, create some of the more dramatic scenes.
The raw energy of the rest of the band and company, together with costumes and choreography that perfectly reflect the era, make it very easy to be swept back to the time when a bank holiday weekend in Brighton would see thousands of people rioting on the beach and local hotels and businesses being wrecked. A time of conflict both internally and externally for a whole generation.
Even though it is over thirty years since the release of the classic album and film, there is a musical legacy which leaves the show with giant footsteps to fill, but this is a rock opera with serious attitude and the superb company who perform it have the youth, energy, drive, style and talent to fill those footsteps well.
- Paul Lucas-Scott