Wilmas Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Commitments opened last night at London’s palace theatre. It had all the right ingredients to be an awful jukebox musical. A stage adaption of Roddy Doyle’s 1987 novel (and 1991 film) about growing up in Dublin, where times are hard and music is the only thing the youngsters live for.
I went in to the show with no real idea of what it was about (the whole thing must have passed by me in the 80’s) and my expectations were low, however from the second the show started I was blown away. The set was incredible and the energy on stage was second to none.
Killian Donnelly was unquestionably the star of the show as Deco, a role so perfect for him that it looked like he was acting out his own self on stage. If this isn’t an Olivier Award winning performance then I don’t know what is.
The music in the Commitments is loud, soulful, gritty and rocky with hit after hit that you will know and love (James Brown, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin). The songs have no real relevance to the story, but they aren’t supposed to and so it works. During the performance scenes, the actors cleverly gather together in the aisles of the auditorium to create a real audience atmosphere.
The Commitments has something for everyone, old or young. It is like Priscilla Queen of the Desert for straight men, with so much testosterone flying around I could barely contain ripping my blouse open and running up on stage like a groupie. Similarities to Dreamboats and Petticoats can’t be avoided either. The show is about youngsters forming a band. The big difference is that The Commitments has soul and substance whereas I never felt Dreamboats did.
A true masterpiece. Cleverly put together and with casting that could have not been more perfect. A real five star show (and if I could, six stars for Killian Donnelly).