Pauls Review Archives

“Magical Tommy’s a dream of a show”


I was dazzled by a show that was the brashest, flashiest, most sexual-most altogether beautiful -incarnation of Tommy so far.

As a deep admirer of the original Tommy story, I feel this version came closer than any previous interpretation to realising Townsend's original dream.

But, more than that, it was quite simply a brilliant, magical theatrical event. The story of the little boy who is struck deaf, dumb and blind at the sight of his father’s brutal murder still has the power to bring a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye.

Strong Inadvertently, of course, by West End stage standards, this production is lavish almost to the point of vul­garity. But then rock and roll never did have much to do with prissiness and understatement.

There are dazzling, scorch­ing lasers, vast back projec­tion screens, huge scaffolding towers, dry ice-the works. The success of this production is proof, if proof were needed, that the genius of Townshend's masterwork transcends period:.

Review by John Blake



by Alexander Afinogenev  Directed by Paul Tomlinson

Greenwich Studio Theatre

Sparkling .... Stunning .... Intelligent .... A strong piece ....

Brilliant .... Exceptional ....




The Miser     Dancing at Lughnasa     Blue Remembered Hills

Top Girls     Distant Point

… brilliantly captures the poetic yearning of a simple community .... Eleven char­acters are finely drawn, softly blending into a bolder portrait of nostalgia tinged with disappointment, a future corrupted by fear, a present full of intangible hope ....this fragile idyll is presented with wonderful simplicity.... passionately re­invigorating, this is a rich production of a beautiful play.



.... excellent .... warmly rekindles the spirit with a commitment befitting the revolutionary theme. London theatregoers that have caught recent productions of Gogol or Chekov could be forgiven for thinking that Afinogenev had visited another Government Inspector on a Chekovian scenario of characters yearning for Moscow and a piece of the action .... an infusion of Socialist spirit with a capi­tal 'S' and a glimpse of what might have been had the train not been derailed at that, now, distant point.



When, in 1926, a carriage carrying a Red Army General, his wife and aide de camp is stranded at a tiny, remote station on the Trans-Siberian Railway the villagers of Distant Point seize upon the General as hero and prophet.

… Alexander Afinogenev presents a detailed microcosm of Russia in the euphoric, for­mative years following the Civil War.... this excep­tional production .... of detailed human emotions caught in a flux of momen­tous changes .... has great humour and generosity of spirit and these Tomlinson and his excellent cast evoke beautifully in a memorable production.