The Commitments has been bringing the people’s music to the people of London, playing to packed houses since the show opened at the Palace Theatre in September 2013. Due to overwhelming popular demand, the show is to extend its current booking period for the second time to 13th September 2015.
The Commitments opened to rave reviews in September 2013; The Sunday Times awarded the show five stars saying “The Commitments is the musical we’ve been waiting for. So good, our critic almost weeps”, with the Daily Telegraph and The Times both awarding the show four stars.
Since September 2014, the lead role of Deco is played by Brian Gilligan, who played drummer Billy ‘The Animal’ Mooney last year, after a quite remarkable turn of events.
Brian’s appointment to the role was serendipitous. The associate director of the production, C Jay Ranger, was backstage at the Palace Theatre, making her way upstairs to the offices when from the stairwell she heard the most astonishingly powerful, stirring voice launching into the vocals of Marvin Gaye’s soul classic ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’. Completely taken aback by the raw, soulful sound, she followed it up flight after flight of stairs, until she discovered Brian Gilligan, headphones on and in a world of his own, in a musical moment that would change his life.
C Jay immediately recommended Brian to Director Jamie Lloyd, who saw him for an audition and Brian was cast only a few weeks later. Brian is delighted to be playing Deco; a role he has coveted and admired since being enthralled by the way Roddy Doyle brought him to life in his bestselling novel.
The show has been adapted for the stage by Booker Prize-winning Roddy Doyle, from his original novel. It is directed by the award-winning Jamie Lloyd, famed for directing the critically acclaimed Macbeth, and is packed with classic soul songs including Think by Aretha Franklin, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones, Papa Was A Rolling Stone by The Temptations, Knock on Wood by Eddie Floyd, In The Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett, Try A Little Tenderness by Otis Redding and of course, Mustang Sally.
The Commitments is the story of Jimmy Rabbitte, a young working class music fan, who shapes an unlikely bunch of amateur musicians into an amazing live act, the finest soul band Dublin has ever produced. The show follows the journey of two members of a frustrated synthesiser band – the opening scene has them playing but ignored in a shop window – who turn to Jimmy, the local music expert, for help.
Placing a classified advert in a music paper, Jimmy auditions a number of wannabes before finalising the new line up who he names The Commitments. The humour kicks in as the band get to know each other and their instruments, and proceed through early rehearsals for their first gig. Just as they improve and begin to get a name for themselves they combust. The backing singers are all getting off with the middle aged horn playing legend, the singer has entered Eurovision, the drummer has walked out mid-gig and the saxophone player has dangerous leanings towards a jazz career.