The Who's Quadrophenia is coming to the London stage, with a pretty major twist

25 June 2024, 14:03

The Who on the Quadrophenia tour in 1973
The Who on the Quadrophenia tour in 1973. Picture: Getty Images

By Mayer Nissim

Or should we say pirouette?

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The Who have always been great at mixing up mediums to come up with some pretty incredible work, often using their ambitious concept albums as a leap-off point.

Tommy was conceived as a "rock opera" and became an actual opera just a couple of years after its release, before also getting an orchestral spin, being turned into a hit movie, and also a Broadway musical.

More recently, "lost" album Lifehouse was finally realised as a graphic novel, and their 1972 masterpiece Quadrophenia has also lent itself to several drastic re-interpretations.

The concept album was adapted into a movie by Franc Roddam in 1979, and has also been performed as a live production and been remade as an orchestral album.

And now Quadrophenia is getting its most drastic remake yet, being produced as what's being called a "Mod Ballet".

Pete Townshend's Quadrophenia- A Mod Ballet trailer

"Returning in 2025, the album is for the first time a dance production!" reads the blurb.

"Quadrophenia, A Mod Ballet features a large cast of exceptional dancers, introducing new audiences to troubled mod Jimmy’s story while remaining true in spirit to the much-loved original.

"A rich, orchestral version of the album by Rachel Fuller, first heard in a concert version at The Royal Albert Hall and recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is the backdrop for this adrenaline-filled rollercoaster ride."

Phil Daniels in Quadrophenia
Phil Daniels in Quadrophenia. Picture: Alamy

The production is directed by Rob Ashford with choreography from Paul Roberts, Costumes come from Paul Smith and Natalie Pryce, with projection by Nick Hillel and lighting design by Fabiana Piccioli.

Quadrophenia: the Mod Ballet opens at Plymouth Theatre Royal on May 28, 2025. It then tours the UK.

1979 Quadrophenia Official Trailer 1 Universal Studios

"I wanted to remind the band where we came from," guitarist Pete Townshend is quoted by The Guardian as saying.

“We started as a band of four boys, a drummer, a bass player, a guitarist and a singer, and two of us have died.

"So we’re left with the guitar player and the singer trying, in a sense, to revive and honour the music that we wrote when there were four of us. It’s tricky. We can honour it and celebrate it, but whether we can actually do it is another story.”

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