REVIEW: The Commitments

The Commitments, Theatre Royal, Norwich

What a tonic this energetic show is - the perfect pre Christmas treat. It sets off at a tremendous pace with the cast belting out Proud Mary, and it pretty much doesn’t stop for the next two and a half hours.

It’s based on the 1991 movie, which was itself based on the 1986 Roddy Doyle novel, and tells the tale of just about every band: how they formed, their scramble to fame, the arguments and the inevitable fall out! And there’s every character, too - the fixer, the egotistical lead singer, the Casanova, the man with a short fuse - and so on.

It is all set in Dublin in the 1980s but rather than play the sounds of that period, they tackle soul music, and some of the great numbers, too. So expect classics such as I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, Mustang Sally, River Deep, Mountain High and more.

The quirky lead singer Deco is played by Brian Gilligan who has quite a voice, tackling everything that is thrown at him, while the three backing singers give it some clout as well. And do look out for Coronation Street’s Curly Watts, Kevin Kennedy, in a nice little role.

Don’t think the show is merely a tribute act to these great hits, it’s much more than that. You feel the passion of these teenagers from a rough part of Dublin who see music as the way out and well, if the music doesn’t get to your soul, you probably don’t have one.

The show runs until Saturday, visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

Sarah Hardy