Bristol Theatre Company has a win with ambitious 'Tommy'

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 11/13/18

You wouldn't think a production based on a 50 year old album composed by one of the most successful musical acts in history could be considered a "gamble," but for a local community theatre group …

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Bristol Theatre Company has a win with ambitious 'Tommy'

Posted

You wouldn't think a production based on a 50 year old album composed by one of the most successful musical acts in history could be considered a "gamble," but for a local community theatre group that often produces more family-friendly feel-good fare, Tommy contains some pretty discomfiting themes.

But if Tommy was a gamble for the BTC, it's one they've won handily.

Longtime fans of the album will especially enjoy this production, strongly supported by an excellent pit band. From Mike Daniels as Tommy to Julian Trilling as Mrs. Walker to Bill Bullard as the Specialist, the cast showed off impressive vocal skills in this "rock opera" with virtually no spoken lines.

Mark Carter turns in a strong performance as Uncle Ernie — if not terribly nuanced, making Mr. and Mrs. Walker seem obtuse for not seeing that it is decidedly NOT okay to leave the boy with Uncle Ernie. Fay Bullard also turns in a strong performance as Tommy fangirl Sally Simpson, in one of the catchiest numbers of the production — which also features a legitimate stunt as Bullard trustfalls off the stage.

Greg Geer's direction and Diane Campagna's choreography wrap the talents of this cast up into a neat production that, with a dizzying number of costume changes and a clever set made up of rotating panels that takes the audience from the ramp of a plane dropping paratroopers to a concert hall to the inside of a pinball machine, punches well over its weight.

There's still time to see Tommy, with three more shows this weekend, Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 15-17. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. The Bristol Theatre Company stage is located at 235 High Street, Bristol. For tickets and more information, visit www.bristoltheatrecompany.org.

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