THEATRE REVIEW: The Commitments

WORTH A LOOK?: *****

WHERE: Palace Theatre

WHEN: 13/9, runs to 1/11, then tours nationwide

‘The Commitments are a good times band, perhaps even important, catch them before it’s too late’. Not the monstagigz review, we’d be even more enthusiastic than that, but one the band that shares its name with the musical receives during it.

We weren’t too keen on director Jamie Lloyd’s Richard III at Trafalgar Studios last year but what he does brilliantly here is cut to the quick of what makes The Commitments so enjoyable: it’s essentially a gig featuring 20 soul classics (our favourites of far too many to choose from being You Keep Me Hangin’ On, River Deep, Mountain High and Try A Little Tenderness) interwoven with the story of an unlikely band coming together, falling out and making up.

Opening at the Palace Theatre in September 2013, many of the original cast remain and particularly strong are Denis Grindel as manager Jimmy Rabbitte, who holds everything together, and Commitmentettes (did we get that right?) Jessica Cervi and Sarah O’Connor.

In a musical world now dominated by TV shows such as The X Factor and The Voice it can sometimes be difficult to remember a time when ‘the Eurovision’ might be the pinnacle of a singer’s ambition as it is Deco’s here. We’re also struggling to imagine Killian Donnelly, who now stars in Kinky Boots opening 15/9, playing Deco when the show opened and being quite so faithful to the 1991 film as his successor is here.

One thing we’d forgotten about the film is quite how funny it was and thankfully author Roddy Doyle is on writing duties here which means the audience is laughing out loud when it’s not swaying in its seat or leaping to its feet to appreciate one of the West End’s most joyous shows.

  • Watch the musical trailer here with tickets available from £27.50

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