The Commitments at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre - Review

The Commitments at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre - Review


Posted 2022-10-13 by dpmfollow

Tue 11 Oct 2022 - Sat 15 Oct 2022

The musical adaptation of Roddy Doyle's The Commitments was hugely successful on the West End and its first tour so it is little surprise the show is back for another outing. Currently at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, The Commitments takes us back to the 1980s to Barrytown in Dublin where a group of friends and acquaintances set up a soul band and aim for the big time. But while the group have talent, it is their fractured relationships that put their future at risk.

Doyle was closely involved in the stage adaptation, writing the book and attending rehearsals, and his spirit is infused in the production with his trademark warm humour and understanding of human nature at its heart. Sometimes it is in the small details – a sign painted with the words 'heroine kills' and sometimes it is in the larger elements such as the hilarious characters and their gutter mouth obscenities pronouncing truisms.

Plus, of course, the show has a soundtrack of winning songs including Knock on Wood, Mustang Sally, Think, Reach Out And I'll Be There and I Heard It Through The Grapevine. The performers may be taking the role of amateur musicians but there is no doubt they are clear professionals with the songs belted out with great harmonies and plenty of energy.

Stepping into the role of lead singer Deco on press night, James Deegan was clearly relishing his moment in the limelight, giving the performance everything he has – and he has plenty of character, personality and talent.

James Killeen is the likeable Jimmy who brings the band together, constantly encouraging them, looking the other way at their foibles and trying to keep them on track – no easy task when faced with endless squabbles and fights.

Nigel Pivaro takes the role of Jimmy's Da and layers it with dry but gentle humour, laced with love for his son. For much of the story, they bounce off each other in a soft verbal sparring match but then comes the moment when he tells his son how proud he is to be his Da.

Directed by Andrew Linnie, the show rollicks along at a fast pace, dipping in and out of songs and gradually building momentum to the grand finale and ensuing medley. And Tim Blazdell's sets take us into the Barrytown clubs and pubs of the eighties.

There's a lot to like in The Commitments as it takes the idea of a jukebox musical but gives it heart, humour and character. By remaining true to the original it will appeal to lovers of the novel and the hit film but its fun blend of heart and soul will also bring in a new generation of Commitments fans.

#theatre -reviews
!date 11/10/2022 -- 15/10/2022
70770 - 2023-01-26 01:49:16


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