RODDY DOYLE’S THE COMMITMENTS ON STAGE FOR THE FIRST TIME
NOW BOOKING TO APRIL 2015 AT THE PALACE THEATRE, SHAFTESBURY AVENUE, W1
“The Commitments is the musical we’ve been waiting for. So good, our critic almost weeps” Sunday Times *****
“This hugely enjoyable show touches the sublime. Wonderfully funny” Daily Telegraph ****
“Unstoppable fun. A big-hearted, big-night out” The Times ****
More than 25 years after the publication of Roddy Doyle’s best-selling novel, The Commitments is back, as a West End show, now playing at the Palace Theatre.
The Commitments opened in October 2013 to rave reviews; The Sunday Times awarded the show five stars saying “The Commitments is the musical we’ve been waiting for. So good, our critic almost weeps”, with the Daily Telegraph and The Times both awarding the show four stars.
The Commitments features a cast of fresh, young and exciting talent, including popular stage actor Killian Donnelly (Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables) who plays the arrogant but gifted lead singer of The Commitments, Deco. Killian has already received huge critical acclaim for his performances, The Independent describing his portrayal of Deco as “phenomenal”, and The Observer agree, stating “Killian Donnelly is the star of the show”. Killian has waited his whole life to play this role, having constantly been told by his mum that he was too young to watch or read The Commitments, when growing up in Dublin.
The role of Jimmy Rabbitte, the band’s manager, being played by West End debutant Denis Grindel, who handed in his stage school dissertation just as the show entered previews. Having completed a law degree, Denis was about to sign his contract when he took a late audition for drama school, and won a place. Just one year on, he’s bringing the affable Jimmy to life on the West End stage and the Sunday Telegraph have described him as “A genuinely charismatic star”. Now that’s soul.
The Commitmentettes, Dublin’s answer to The Supremes, are being played by three young Dublin girls, all performing in lead roles in the West End for the first time – Sarah O’Connor, Stephanie McKeon and Jessica Cervi.
The show has been adapted for the stage by Booker Prize-winning Roddy Doyle, from his original novel. It is directed by the award-winning Jamie Lloyd, famed for directing the critically acclaimed Macbeth, and is packed with classic soul songs including Think by Aretha Franklin, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones, Papa Was A Rolling Stone by The Temptations, Knock on Wood by Eddie Floyd, In The Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett, Try A Little Tenderness by Otis Redding and of course, Mustang Sally.
The Commitments is the story of Jimmy Rabbitte, a young working class music fan, who shapes an unlikely bunch of amateur musicians into an amazing live act, the finest soul band Dublin has ever produced. The show follows the journey of two members of a frustrated synthesiser band – the opening scene has them playing but ignored in a shop window – who turn to Jimmy, the local music expert, for help.
Placing a classified advert in a music paper, Jimmy auditions a number of wannabes before finalising the new line up who he names The Commitments. The humour kicks in as the band get to know each other and their instruments, and proceed through early rehearsals for their first gig. Just as they improve and begin to get a name for themselves they combust. The backing singers are all getting off with the middle aged horn playing legend, the singer has entered Eurovision, the drummer has walked out mid-gig and the saxophone player has dangerous leanings towards a jazz career.
Roddy Doyle says: “I watched these terrific young people becoming The Commitments, I heard them sing; I watched them play their instruments – and it all makes me very happy and excited. What amuses me most is the fact that only one of them was born when I wrote the novel. I hadn’t planned to write the script myself but I have and I really enjoyed it. After meeting a number of impressive writers I told my wife ‘I’m thinking I might have a bash at the script myself’ and she said ‘You took your time’.”
Performance times: Tuesday – Sunday at 7.30pm, Saturday at 3pm & Sunday at 2.30pm
Venue: Palace Theatre, 109 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 8AY.
Tickets ON SALE NOW: £10 – £67.50 / Box Office: 0844 874 0790
The part of Deco will be performed by Ian McIntosh at Tuesday and Sunday evening performances