Monday, 14 September 2009

My Generation!

Quadrophenia, the stage production is touring the UK. The film is a cult favourite written by The Who and focuses on Jimmy, a London boy who is at the centre of the mod scene gripping the 1960s. It is a masterpiece of a film with brilliant music and shows off the highs and lows of a generation. Phil Daniels, who recently had a role in Eastenders and was featured in Blur’s Parklife, is a stand out as Jimmy. Sting plays the Top Mod, also the infamous Bellboy, and Leslie Ash plays the love interest. A few other young British actors are in the film, nowadays they are middle aged and feature in programmes like ‘The Bill’. We were all youths once!

The stage version of Quadrophenia delves into the concept of schizophrenia Jimmy who has 4 personalities each played by a different actor. Each Jimmy wears the same tight blue jeans, Fred Perry T-shirt and obligatory Parka so as not to cause confusion but the actors that play him are very good and there is no doubt that each of them is a part of Jimmy. Act one sets the scene and shows young Jimmy with his family, his overbearing father bullying him and his mother. The conflict leads to Jimmy’s personality to split into four; anger, lunatic, contradict and romantic. All personalities compete for the main spot. As Jimmy grapples with his overbearing personalities, he becomes wrapped up in The Scene happening around him, and secures his identity as a Mod. The Who classics like ‘One’ and the magnificent ‘Love reign o’er me’ are sung out with heart and soul by the actors who as well as great movers are great singers too. ‘My Generation’ is a highlight emulating the scene in the film where the boys jump around like they have the world at their feet singing along to The Who classic.

The best thing about the stage production is the music. Where as the film has a gripping story line along with a stunning soundtrack, the theatre production focuses on concepts and so you are left to enjoy the scenes and music for what they are. There’s a few scenes which focus a bit too heavily on Jimmy’s family, although it is clear that the story line aims to show how Jimmy’s troubled relationship with his dad has lead to his personality disorder. The production could have looked at the muddy relationship between the Mods and Rockers a bit more but apart from that, the show sparkled with talent, show stopping songs and personalities – quite literally in Jimmy’s case.

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