Having never seen the film, I had no idea what to expect when I went to see The Commitments at the Liverpool Empire Theatre last night. I have been told the film is well worth a watch- but that’s never a guarantee that it will translate to the stage well.
The Commitments is a stage adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s novel of the same name and tells the story of Jimmy, a music fanatic who lives in Dublin North side and gets a group of working class people together to from a new soul band.
Any performance that opens with a Tina Turner hit, in a pub- at Christmas is going to go down well and especially when the people singing such a beloved song can all belt out a tune. As soon as the first scene was over- I was sold.
Brian Gilligan, Amy Penston, Leah Penston and Christina Tedders all looked exhausted by the end of the performance and it was clear to see why. They gave each and every song their all and their voices had such strength to do all of the iconic tunes justice. All of them had their chance to shine on stage and even though the girls were the back-up singers for Deco in the story- they blew the audience away with their solo numbers.
The song list included ‘Mustang Sally’, ‘I heard it Through the Grapevine’, ‘Reach Out’ and ‘Knock on Wood’- just to name a few, songs that will always have a resonance with people whichever generation you come from so there was something to please every musical taste.
I have to be honest and say that I didn’t expect a lot from last night’s performance, I wasn’t aware that the movie and the book had been adapted for stage and having seen some poor productions inspired by film I was a little sceptical.
This prodction really is a little gem- it’s perhaps not as well-known as the other big names but it should be. It hooks you from the first few minutes and gives you that feel good factor that you need on a wet and dark January evening.
The script was slick and funny, the characters were believable and the situations they found themselves in were relatable.
My husband said he had never seen the Liverpool Empire as energised as it was last night and I think that’s all the proof you need- we weren’t the only ones to enjoy ourselves- the standing ovation said it all.
The Commitments is on at the Liverpool Empire Theatre until 21st January.
Tagged in Liverpool Empire Theatre