Edinburgh Fringe 2018
Paul enters with bow tie and to the sound track we all know, and judging by the response to it, we love. A measured explanation follows that we shall get the substance but not the glitter as Paul’s ambition has extended far and beyond the budget. We get two acts of a 2 ½ hour musical in 60 minutes with magical scene changers and him playing all the necessary parts.
This is something I should not like; but I loved it. The idea that one man can walk onstage and take you on such a flight of absolute fantasy and joy is incredible. Paul is that man and his dream is an absolute fantasy. Building round the Tommy/Gina story from one of Bon Jovi’s most loved songs he has crafted an exceptional piece of theatre. The grumpy techie might be a tad cliched, the camp rhetoric and imagery might be a little less than surprising but the package over the full hour never lets up and never disappoints. Throughout we were all more than halfway there.
The IKEA touch of the lamp gave us enough of an insight into this performer who clearly knows his craft. The dances and the songs, the delivery which was pin point at times and always taking us into the realms of his fantasy just worked at a level that many others would do well to emulate.
This was a packed crowd. There was hardly a free seat in the house and this was the one that we wanted but with that comes the problem of being able to deliver. Paul O’Donnell delivered in bucket loads.
Highlights were the finale, the opening, the suggestion of who should play Tommy – we never get who would play Gina – the choreography by Bruno Tonioli and meeting the needs of an audience that have to play a part. The camp, predictable and lame way of getting them into the ending is genius and with a whole production wholly dependant on the audience taking part, this has all it needs to be a massive hit – is already.
I left the theatre and went off to the car, hoping that I had not tidied the CD collection. Revisiting things after a theatrical experience is one of the joys of theatre and though my hairbrush was many miles away, the Grassmarket may have caught sight of me making sure that when the call comes down the docks, I for one shall be ready…