Joe McElderry, took to the stage last night for his west end debut playing the lead in Tommy, The Who rock opera , for a one night production in aid of the Pure Theatre Development fund. An interesting casting choice for the lead role.

McElderry’s vocals were barely heard over the band during Act One which seemed perhaps to be a technical issue as the rest of the cast could be heard perfectly well. It wasn’t until I’m Free in Act two that McElderry began to let go and really embody the character of Tommy, until this moment he lacked stage presence.

There were moments when there was a raw edge to his vocals but he seemed to hold back for much of his performance. I would like to have seen him let rip a little more. This is after all a rock opera. As a stage debut McElderry held his own against seasoned west end performers. The technical issues let him down.

Daniel Boys (Captain Walker) and Hannah-Jane Fox (Mrs Walker) were well cast and grew into their role by the end of Act One. Zoe Birkett as the Acid Queen stole the show with a performance not to be missed, though I would have liked to have seen a slightly darker edge. Glen Carter (Uncle Ernie) was disturbing in fiddle about just as it should have been!

Overall this was a great production of Tommy put together in a relatively short space of time supported by a strong ensemble cast. Were it to return for a more permanent residence I would watch it again, Seeing McElderrys’ performance toward the end of Act Two I think he was a good if not obvious casting choice. A role I am sure he would grow into convincingly.