Sunday, September 24

The Commitments – Opera House, Manchester

The Commitments Musical, stopping off at the Opera House in Manchester on its nationwide tour, takes on the daunting task of bringing a classic film to the stage. The result is a performance that might be aptly described as ‘Commitments Lite’, yet it is filled with sensational soul and a cast rich in talent​.

The story is simple. Jimmy, played by James Killeen, forms a soul band from a group of unlikely characters in the town who draw on the essence of being Dubliners to create their original sound. The band experiences a fleeting moment of massive success before falling apart. This narrative is supported by a plethora of fantastic numbers, performed by an array of talented actor-musicians. James Deegan stands out as Deco, a character brimming with charisma and a voice that rises to a sensational conclusion with ‘Try a Little Tenderness’ in the closing gig section. His performance is one that captivates the audience, inviting them to their feet in applause​.

The production is also bolstered by Tim Blazdell’s flexible set design. The seemingly simple design is a cleverly multi-layered collection of spaces that opens up effortlessly. The set’s authentic urban grubbiness effectively contrasts with the impressive beauty of the music created by the band, adding another layer to the characters’ performances​.

The Commitments Prodcution Photos taken in Bromley on the 24th September 2022

While this production might be light on substance for those expecting an authentic recreation of the book or film, it does a superb job of distilling the essence of Roddy Doyle’s work. The Commitments Musical offers an invigorating, funny, and feel-good experience, filled with excellent music, performed by a truly talented ensemble​.

In conclusion, The Commitments Musical is a celebration of sensational soul, a testament to the power of music, and a showcase of the enormous talent of its cast. Despite the storyline’s relatively shallow depth, the enjoyment derived from the production is undeniable. It’s a performance that you won’t be able to resist singing along to.

Playing until 10th June,

Reviewer: Brian Madden

Reviewed: 5th June 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.