London Theatre Direct's Andrew Tomlins reviews new musical THE COMMITMENTS.
Packed with classic soul songs and bursting with young fresh talent, The Commitments
is the latest new musical to open in the West End. The Commitments has been adapted for the stage by Roddy Doyle who also wrote the original novel. Personally I haven’t read the novel or seen the film so was watching the musical with a fresh pair of eyes.
The show is directed by Jamie Lloyd who so far this year has directed acclaimed West End productions of Macbeth, The Hothouse and The Pride and although The Commitments couldn’t be more different, the director has still managed to put his own stamp on the musical. The Palace Theatre is very tall, allowing the set to be huge, very detailed and atmospheric. The countless pieces of set swiftly glide on and off stage, with the help of a few stylised stagehands giving The Commitments a cinematic feel.
The storyline is a little weak in places and the show relies on its score, which includes the likes of ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’, ‘In the Midnight Hour’ and ‘Satisfaction’, to keep up the energy levels. The musical follows Jimmy Rabitte, a young working class music fan, as he puts together a bunch of amateur musicians to form a group called The Commitments. Once he had found the line-up, the musical follows the group’s journey as they try to become the finest soul band Dublin has ever produced.
The star of the show is Killian Donnelly. He has previously appeared in Les Miserables and Billy Elliot, but playing Deco in The Commitments could not be any more different. His vocals have to be heard to be believed. He is joined by a rock solid, excitable array of talented performers and musicians.
A considerable amount of cast members are making their West End debuts in The Commitments which adds a certain rawness to the lively, excitable atmosphere that Jamie Lloyd’s production creates. Roddy Doyle’s script provides many laughs but could be funnier. Filled with lots of swearing, The Commitments certainly isn’t one for the family.
Loud, fun and passionate, The Commitments certainly isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea. But if you are looking for a wild night out at the theatre, after Rock Of Ages closes next month your only option will be to book tickets to see The Commitments.
Reviewed on Tuesday 8th October 2013
The Commitments is currently booking at the Palace Theatre until 19th October 2014.