What do you get when you take a classic soul musical and team it with the Grand Opera House? A cracking night out!
Grand Opera House, York
Till Sat Feb 18 @ 7.30pm, Sat matinee @ 2.30pm
The Commitments takes you back to 1985 in all it’s technicolor and shoulder padded glory. Jimmy is tired of 80s music and decides to put together a soul band.
The result is an evening of sheer entertainment.
The small stage at the Grand Opera House proved no problem for the clever set design, and at times you were hard pushed to catch everything happening as there was so much action on stage.
The set allowed a fast pace covering the period of the auditions and band start up.
Crying with laughter
The initial saxophone catastrophes did leave me wondering what to expect, but as with the rest of the band, the progression was clear and the performances became more polished as the evening went on.
I’m hard pushed to pick anyone out for attention as all the performances were excellent, although as usual I found a quirky character who’s performance enthralled me. Sam Fordham’s ‘Mickah’ had me crying with laughter, whilst twitchy, bouncy enthusiasm kept me enthralled.
Brian Gilligan certainly had the voice for lead singer ‘Deco’, but was a little too good looking. I didn’t get the same sense of revulsion for the character as I did with the movie.
He plays brilliantly to the crowd and his front of curtain clothing change in the first half is hilarious, although the gentleman in the audience may prefer the silhouettes of the girls changing behind the curtain.
Blast from the past
Kevin Kennedy as ‘Jimmy’s Da’ is a blast from the past. I didn’t recognise him at first, but the scenes in the little house reminded me so much of his time on Coronation Street I found myself looking for Hilda’s ducks on the wall.
He’s certainly kept his bounce as you’ll find in the finale.
The evening is full of non stop music, including a number of my favourites: Mustang Sally, I Heard It On The Grapevine, What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted, Proud Mary, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, Save A Little Tenderness and many more.
The story translates seamlessly to the stage, and the cast blend together well. I was really enjoying the show, and then we had the encore – the energy and enthusiasm in that had the packed audience clapping along and giving a standing ovation at the end.
It took a good show and made it outstanding. It’s one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time.