dfp_header_hidden_string

Get our free email newsletter with just one click

The Great Downhill Journey of Little Tommy

Jonas Vermeulen and Boris Vanseveren’s show occupies the space between concept album and performance. It is a surging, swelling thing, as much a gig as a piece of theatre: industrial, thumping, brooding, banging. A delicious cacophony wrapped around the slender coming-of-age story of a young kid who leaves his hilltop home and ventures down to the water, leaving behind a distraught mother.

Along the way he encounters a series of characters – big-booted workmen, jittery Bukowski barflies – and each of these meetings gets its own song, its own musical style. Behind the performers, a string of images of his journey is painted live, a Yellow Submarine scroll full of surreal details, eyes winking out of the inky calligraphy.

The Great Downhill Journey of Little Tommy is a show of real energy and the black-clad Vermeulen and Vanseveren are charismatic and intensely physical front-men – there is humour too to the way they inhabit the various eccentric characters young Tommy encounters, particularly Vermeulen’s turn as a mumbling, slumbering liquor store distiller.

It all threatens to become a bit grinding and relentless towards the end, a bit of a trudge, but it has one final trick up its sleeve, and it ends with a brilliantly tingling finish.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Verdict
Part performance, part gig, an energetic fusion of music, theatre and live-drawing
^