The Commitments is a great choice for theatre breaks! This show is just chock full of soul classics Like Try a Little Tenderness and Mustang Sally. These are heart pumping show stopping numbers as you can tell from this theatrical trailer:
The story is based on Roddy Doyle’s novel and film of the same name. The story is set in the 1980 and tells the tale of the formation of a Dublin soul band. This is more like a play with music than an actual musical. The songs are not used to move the action on or to give us insights into characters but form part of the actual story itself. The characters are not all wonderful singers and this is shown on stage with sometimes hilarious results. This is a feel good musical in the same way that Jersey Boys is and I think it will appeal to a very similar audience mix. Some of us will like the 1980s nostalgic element others will just love the energy of the music. The show is all about the music and the passion that soul music of the 60s provokes 20 years later in a run down area of Dublin.
Not all the critics liked the way the production handles the story. Some felt that the subtler aspects had got lost along the way and all that was left was the music. One described it as “We Will Rock You for soul lovers”, as if this was a bad thing! The cheek! What can you say about the critics? They are not the people who buy tickets for one thing and they often get it wrong. I think they have made an error of judgement with the Commitments and many of the internet reviews have been much more positive. Let’s face it they hated Jersey Boys too! So don’t let them put you off.
I think the Commitments will be a great night out and I am totally convinced you will come out of the theatre singing and dancing! Here I have to confess we have the CD of the film and it is one of my all time favourites. The list of songs in the show is enormous but you do not always get the whole song, sometimes songs are interupted by the action as they are being rehearsed or used as audition pieces rather than performed.
The Cast and Setting
The cast are young and talented and there are some fine voices, and as I said before some less fine but funnier! Roddy Doyle said that he was watching them one day when he realised that none of them had been born when the book was written! Dublin in the 1980s is the backdrop to the story but it doesn’t dominate the action.
It is interesting that there are currently two shows in the West End with a distinctive Irish flavour. Once is also set in Dublin and in a similar period, though the musical style of the shows could not be more different. Both of these shows are based on what were cult films and that seems to be a big theme in the West End at the moment with From Here to Eternity also running.