If any one of us tried to break our personalities down into definable traits, the concept of schizophrenia wouldn’t even begin to cover the multiple characters we all possess. And yet we live in a society so obsessed with labelling that the complexities of our identity become whittled down to no more than base stereotypes. For example: we don’t all fall into the dominating groups of the goths and neds of today or the mods and rockers of the 60s, so it’s easy to see why people become disillusioned with these terms and a sense of confusion with who they are.
From a dysfunctional family to the girl-next-door there are basic plot points throughout the script, but the inability to join the dots makes it difficult to engage with fully.
Based on The Who’s 1973 album, Quadrophenia follows the development of the mod movement in London and Brighton through the central character, Jimmy. Unlike the film version of 1979, Jimmy is portrayed on stage by four different actors, representing the various segments of his personality – the romantic (Ryan O’Donnell), the tough guy (George Maguire), the lunatic (Jack Roth) and the hypocrite (Rob Kenderick).
The search for identity and a need to belong is a common enough theme for anyone to relate to, but Pete Townshend’s concept, adapted here by Jeff Young, leaves little in the way of impressive storytelling. From a dysfunctional family to the girl-next-door there are basic plot points throughout the script, but the inability to join the dots makes it difficult to engage with fully. Nonetheless, the performances are sharp and energetic and Frances Newman’s choreography shines, particularly in the second half. Under the direction of Tom Critchley the production elements can scarcely be flawed and with an impressive live band and such iconic music, Quadrophenia is certainly a welcome antidote to the trashier pop album-come-musicals we’ve recently seen emerge. (Fiona Urquhart)
Until Tue 26 May, then touring