The Upper Canada College-Bishop Strachan School co-production of The Who’s epic rock opera Tommy opened to an enthusiastic audience at BSS, Feb. 25.
Directed by BSS’s Brendon Allen, the compelling story follows the life of young Tommy over 20 years. Tommy is forever traumatized when his soldier father returns from the Second World War and kills his mother’s lover, taken up during dad’s absence. Despite Tommy’s inability to see, hear or speak, this “deaf, dumb and blind kid” becomes a worldwide celebrity thanks to his skill at playing pinball.
Musically, the show was outstanding. The audience was treated to not just one, but two live bands made up of incredibly talented musicians including Savinay Chopra, Ciaran Wilkie and Flynn Tanner. They played all the music that has made this musical so famous. They absolutely rocked.
The actors brilliantly portrayed each of their characters in a moving and inspiring way. The audience felt Captain Walker’s struggle, played by David Cash, as he helplessly stood by and watched his son live in darkness and silence. Through brilliant acting and singing, Cash made us all feel his pain. Luciano Cesta who played the alcoholic, child abuser Uncle Ernie, eerily and powerfully showed us the dark side of human nature through gesture and song. And Kurt Karul wonderfully portrayed the young Tommy. His ability to stay in character through a mesmerizing stare was extraordinary.
The ensemble powerfully sang and danced in a number of roles, from police and pimps to hobos and lawyers. Graham Burton, Mark Debono, Theo Iordache, Benji McLean, Nathan McLean and Charlie Watson did not miss a beat. The BSS girls’ choreography, singing and dancing truly made the story come to life. The show ran smoothly thanks to assistant stage manager Dennis Semenovych. It was an incredible performance, and in the end, the audience could hardly believe their own eyes.
The show runs for two more nights, Feb. 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. (Feb. 28 is sold out.) A few tickets are still available for Feb. 27 and can be purchased here for $20. For pictures of this amazing show, see below.