An explosion of soul happened on the Grand Opera House York stage last night.
As the nights draw in and the weather starts to bring us those familiar winter nights, what better way to stay warm than dancing along to timeless classics performed by exceptional musicians.
The Commitments is at the Grand Opera House from Monday 7 to Saturday 12 November.
The Commitments, adapted from the Roddy Doyle novel, tells the story of the ‘hardest working band in the world’. A group of amateur musicians who come together to perform working-class soul music under the supervision of Jimmy Rabbitte (James Killeen) – that is pulled together through friendship, advertisements and even questionable auditions at Jimmy’s own front door!
We witness the rollercoaster journey the group take, from performing in community centres to being offered the opportunity to record a song – with all the romance, arguments and fighting in-between.
Each performer had their own gifted skill set, including the frontman of the group, portrayed by Ian Mcintosh. Not only did he have incredible vocals as he led the majority of the classic hits, but he also embodied the wayward nature of the character Deco perfectly.
Imelda (Ciara Mackey), Natalie (Eve Kitchingman) and Bernie (Sarah Gardiner) also had their own moments front and centre and they did not disappoint, bringing power and passion as they covered some iconic numbers – Aretha Franklin’s ‘Think’ was a particular favourite.
Nigel Pivaro may be a familiar face to some, swapping his legendary role as Terry Duckworth on Coronation Street to play the supporting role of Jimmy’s Da and the stubborn caretaker. You could tell he was a crowd favourite during the curtain call!
It wasn’t just the cast and their many talents that were enjoyable to watch, the set was extremely impressive as it transported us around Dublin – from rehearsals in a garage to their two-floor home, it made use of every inch of the stage.
Whilst the music was sensational, I did feel the book lacked some opportunities for further character development or stronger dialogue between the cast. However, this did not stop it from being an altogether fantastic musical.
The soundtrack to this musical is sublime and features hit after hit, including ‘Proud Mary’, ‘Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours’ and ‘Mustang Sally’. Everyone was tapping their feet and nodding their heads, itching to be able to get on their feet and dance – their moment soon came in the finale when everyone was up and dancing along.
Even as we exited the theatre, the after-show buzz was in the air as people sang and danced their way home.
If you love soul music, brilliant musicians and top-class performers, you do not want to miss this!
Catch The Commitments at Grand Opera House York until Saturday 12 November. Tickets start from £13 and are available here.