ENGLISH THEATRE FRANKFURT
Musical viewers are not always treated to such proximity, such unvarnished and excellent acting. The Who‘s “Tommy” is the most elaborate musical to appear at the English Theatre Frankfurt – The stage is small, the stage technology straightforward – but what is there is implemented perfectly and stage director Ryan McBryde has the cast perform the rest. Thus, WWII booms and roars to a bizarre dance of air force pilots and the mirror in which lost-boy Tommy stares at himself repeatedly shatters in a fantastic manner. Everything works perfectly; not because it’s easy, but because it has all been prepared meticulously.
Did we just witness a nightmare, a vision or a twitching thought? Stage director Ryan McBryde purposely leaves this question unanswered. For the first time ever, this is a logically coherent production of Tommy. Was his healing just a dream? Far more relevant than the answer to that question: the music, the performance and the beat. And all of that is top class! Once again, the English Theatre breaks the boundaries of what can be done on stage. The sound design, the timing of the costume changes, the lighting and the sequences of the video projections on two screens were worked on meticulously
Thus, the successful staging with Diego Pitarch’s austere set and Tapio Snellman’s video design full of visual stimuli fosters Townshend’s original scepticism towards modern society’s promise of healing, which is seemingly attainable without self-reflection.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
In visually stunning scenes, stage director Ryan McBride tells this clever story. Within Diego Pitarch‘s excellent stage design, modelled on war torn London, "Tommy" develops into an impressive and exciting musical with nightmarish moments.
Frankfurter Neue Presse
The rock opera by The Who, "Tommy", creates a stir at the English Theatre with a new production by Ryan McBryde. The rush for tickets started long before the premiere – and rightly so, as we could see on Saturday!
Yet it is a fantastic performance that tells the story with a great love of detail. A young, energetic ensemble shines with its powerful voices and shows the precisely composed “musical journey” in an inventive and modern manner within its historical framework and with breathtaking speed. The fighter pilots’ “ballet” on wire sticks is amusing, the Christmassy illumination with colourful lights is beautiful, the suggested abuse of Tommy at the hands of Uncle Ernie and his images on a fetish turntable (the converted Christmas dinner table) is haunting, the impulsive dance scenes are invigorating and the costumes are gorgeous.