Do You Like Good Music? Sweet soul music!
The Commitments, the stage musical, based on Alan Parker’s 1991 BAFTA award winning film hits Birmingham’s stunning Hippodrome this week.
The film is itself based on a novel by Roddy Doyle. In all versions the story follows young working-class, wannabe entrepreneur and music promoter Jimmy Rabbitte as he tries to put together an authentic R&B and soul band in his hometown of Dublin with various trials and tribulations along the way.
There are incredible energetic and charismatic performances by all of the cast throughout.
The big appeal of the original film was the impeccable soundtrack and the fantastic cover versions of classic songs performed by the cast. If you’re going to see the stage musical, your hopes are bound to be set high for the same.
The show begins before it begins, with the stage already set and curtains open even as people are taking their seats, people are arriving at a Christmas party, and a drunken sing-song performance of Ike and Tina Turner’s classic ‘Proud Mary’ introduces us to the soon-to-be frontman of The Commitments ‘Decco’. Decco, like in the film, can really belt them out, he’s got the pipes, and a few moves up his sleeves to boot.
We watch a series of hopeless hopefuls trying out for Jimmy’s band (to great amusement) until the rag-tag bunch finally come together. Then it’s like a rollercoaster train travelling downhill fast as we see the highs and lows of ‘band life’ and the relationships within it. With plenty of the best classic soul music in between.
Musically, the first half of the show really teases the audience with just a sprinkling of songs but the second half is pretty much non-stop and all killer no filler.
There are incredible energetic and charismatic performances by all of the cast throughout. Some stood out as a bit more like the film versions of the characters than others. Jimmy, ‘The Girls’ and Joey ‘The Lips’ in particular, although Jimmy’s dad (played by Coronation Street’s Nigel Pivaro) almost stole the show.
Musically, the first half of the show really teases the audience with just a sprinkling of songs but the second half is pretty much non-stop and all killer no filler. Throughout the show the audience are treated to blistering renditions of ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’, ‘Uptight’, ‘Knock on Wood’, ‘Chain of Fools’ and many more.
However, it’s when they take on The Temptations’ classic ‘Papa Was A Rollin Stone’ things really get cookin! Of course, you’d be asking for your money back if they didn’t do ‘Mustang Sally’, but the cherry on the cake is a gut-wrenching ‘Try a little tenderness’, an iconic song from the film. By the end the whole theatre is up dancing, clapping and singing along and when it’s over everyone leaves with beaming smiles on their faces.
The Commitments is filled with incredible performances, great production and stomping soul classics that will have you shaking your tail feathers all the way home!
The Commitments is on at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday (April 29). Grab your tickets here: Birmingham Hippodrome, The Commitments
Words by Mazzy Snape Director breadbirmingham.co.uk
The Commitments Pic – Credit Ellie Kurttz