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Review: The Commitments


By: Suzanne Cleave, TRP Reviewer


The Commitments, the stage adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s best-selling novel, is an explosion of soul that leaves you on your feet wanting more!

It tells the story of Jimmy Rabbitte, a young music fan, who gathers a bunch of friends and musicians to form a soul band that ends up taking Dublin by storm. Some of them are more musical than others, but with practice and perseverance, they go from playing in the local community centre when the bingo is cancelled to the recording studio.

Their success is helped along the way by Joey ‘The Lips’ Fagan (Stuart Reid), a musician, who offers to help, and also Deco (played by Ian McIntosh), who takes on the role of lead singer.

But as the band becomes more popular, what also increases is the self-importance of some of the characters resulting in all sorts of friction within the band. But will it tear them apart or make the band stronger?

The amount of talent on the stage was phenomenal. From Deco at the front to Imelda (Ciara Mackey), Natalie (Eve Kitchingman) and Bernie (Sarah Gardiner), the female trio who not only shone as the backing singers, but who also got to take centre stage themselves.

You couldn’t fault the music – and the production belts out hit after hit, taking the audience on a journey through the soundtrack of soul, including songs such as I Heard it Through The Grapevine, Papa Was a Rolling Stone, Try a Little Tenderness, and of course, Mustang Sally.

Although it’s classed as a musical, it felt in some parts like being at a concert. But with the top-class voices on stage, this wasn’t at all off putting.

Tim Blazdell’s set is fantastic, and moves seamlessly from the local pub to the streets of Dublin, then back to the working class home of Jimmy and his Da (played by former Coronation Street star Nigel Pivaro).

The curtain fell at the end of the second half, and left me wishing it was just starting. Luckily, after the encore, there was time for a few more numbers, which got everyone on their feet and clapping along! It didn’t disappoint.

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