Tom – A Story Of Tom Jones
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre (UK Tour)
7 April 2016
Find Out More About The Tour
Tom Is a two hour bio-play about the incomparable British pop legend that is Tom Jones, which is currently undertaking a tour across the UK. I say bio-play because this is far more a play with music than a musical, as billed by the show’s producers.
Born Thomas John Woodward in Pontyprid, Glamorgan in 1940, Jones’ story is that of a local boy made good. Married to his teenage sweet-heart Linda, when she became pregnant at 16, theirs is a relationship that has endured over time and it’s this relationship that forms the core of the majority of the play.
Tom is a story of love, ambition and success through sheer hard work. I emerged from the theatre with new found respect for Jones and the effort and resilience of the man.
Tom Jones is brilliantly portrayed by Kit Orton. Never venturing too much into the realm of impersonation, Orton takes characteristics from Jones’ performances to create a credible stage persona that for all intents and purposes is as close to Jones as you are going to get. Orton manages to get much of the vocal richness associated with Tom Jones, delivering songs like Spanish Harlem, Delilah and It’s Not Unusual making it all look effortless.
Elin Phillips plays Linda. If the play is accurate, then it was very much Linda who was the driving force behind Jones’ success. A firm believer in her husband’s talent, she talks throughout of knowing that Tom could be a major star. It’s a wonderful performance by Elin, that is ultimately incredible believeable and her interaction with Orton drives this production.
The central narrative for the play comes from Phylip Harries playing Jack Lister. Lister advances the plot throughout, providing gentle humour and playing a mean tenor sax in the show’s concluding medley.
Writer Mike James, has put together a bio-play that manages to put across the salient biographical details of Tom Jones, but establishes wonderful moments that will stay with you long after the show has concluded. Director Geinor Styles, keeps the pace brisk giving Jones’ rise to fame the kind of drive necessary to make a tale like this compelling.
Designer Sean Crowley uses simple set pieces and projection to create multiple locations, which have an authentic feel down to the porcelain ducks on Linda’s mums lounge wall.
Jones’ band The Senators performed by John McLarnon, Tom Connor, Daniel Lloyd, and Kieran Bailey bring loads of character to the motley backing band and brilliant musicianship that back up Orton beautifully.
There’s only one thing that lets this production down and it’s one of the most difficult things to get right with tours and that’s sound. The musical sections of Tom are delivered with near perfect amplification, but during the plays scenes with dialogue a lot of the character interactions in the dress circle because difficult to hear, almost as if the sound had been turned off during dialogue.
If you are a Jones’ fan and even if you aren’t Tom makes for a great night in the theatre. There’s even time for a bit of a boogie at the end of the show. So ladies get ready to fling your nickers Tom is coming to a theatre near you soon and you’d be nuts to miss it!