A great craic!: Our review of The Commitments at Mayflower Theatre
IT'S a love letter to Dublin.
One particularly memorable scene was so evocative of an atmospheric basement bar in the Irish capital during the late 1980s, that I could almost smell the Guinness.
The incredibly talented yet arrogant frontman with the gift of the gab is swinging his microphone, the backing singers are dancing on the tables and the place is buzzing.
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Through the fog of cigarettes and the smoke machine, a fight erupts between members of the finest soul band Dublin has ever seen.
Just a regular night during the rise and fall of The Commitments, the band handpicked by music lover come manager Jimmy Rabbitte and whose members don't always see eye to eye.
Based on the BAFTA award-winning 1991 film, itself taken from Roddy Doyle's 1987 novel, The Commitments is a fantastically feel-good celebration of soul that had the entire Mayflower crowd up on their feet and dancing - even on a Monday!
By the end of the two hour 20 minute show, which morphed into more of a rock concert than a West End musical, it was hard to tell who was enjoying themselves more - the adoring audience or the raucous frontman with the attitude problem and the voice of an angel (Ian McIntosh) who had them in the palm of his hand.
Motown lovers will be in heaven with some now little heard classics making a welcome apperance. Expect everything from Papa Was A Rolling Stone to River Deep, Mountain High.
But The Commitments is not just a sublime slice of soul, it's also genuinely funny.
The auditions scene in which one caricature after another heads through the door of Jimmy's Da's tiny terrace house with its retro wallpaper and vintage dial telephone is a masterstroke.
Ex-Coronation Street actor Nigel Pivaro returns to acting after a two decade hiatus as Jimmy's Da. He and his on-stage son, played by James Killeen, have a lovely rapport and the banter flows easily between them.
The Commitments is a great craic!
It continues until Saturday (April 1).
Tickets are on sale from mayflower.org.uk or 023 8071 1811.