Pinball Wizard

Last week I went down to The Kings Theatre, Portsmouth, on the south coast of England, to watch The Overtures play the last night of their 2013 Bootleg Sixties tour.

They’d not played this theatre before – always a bit ‘interesting’. But turns out it’s a gorgeous Edwardian gem. All red and gold and velvet and ornate boxes and balconies – oh and cherubs.

Kings Theatre cherubs

Kings Theatre cherubs

It has a very interesting history and, according to their website, many legends of stage and screen have performed there, including Sarah Bernhardt, Noel Coward, Rex Harrison, Ivor Novello, Sybil Thorndike and HB Irving.

This is the drive-up. Unfortunately I couldn’t fit in the statue on the top (and I was in a moving car). She’s called Aurora and is a fibre-glass replica of the original, who is now safe and dry in the foyer.

The Kings Theatre, Southsea, Exterior

The Kings Theatre, Southsea

Then, just before the soundcheck started, Phil, the guitarist, showed us a picture on his phone. Turns out that this was where the ‘Pinball Wizard’ section of Tommy (1975), featuring Elton John and The Who, was filmed. (I’m a bit hesitant to add a link to this, but it’s easy to find if you go on Youtube – where you can also find a clip of The Overtures doing their version at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool in 2013.)

The Kings Theatre soundcheck

Sound checking the acoustic section

Kings Theatre Portsmouth soundcheck

Soundcheck with guitarist and sound and lighting crew.

The Overtures do a gobsmackingly amazing version of ‘Pinball Wizard’ as part of the Bootleg Sixties show, so to be performing it on the stage where it was filmed was really rather exciting.

The band, as usual, took it completely in their stride, but I certainly felt a shiver down my spine when those guitar power chords rang out for the first time.

Playing Pinball Wizard

Phil mid ‘Pete Townshend-style windmill’

All photos © Jill Sawyer Phypers