Review: The Commitments – Ipswich Regent

Roddy Doyle’s 1987 novel, The Commitments, was adapted for the big screen in 1991, a gritty tale set in Dublin. It tells the story of Jimmy Rabbitte a music fan who puts together an unlikely group of working class youngsters into a soul band called The Commitments.

Unlike many Irish showbands this band perform the soul music of the 60s and 70s, songs like Proud Mary, Papa was a Rolling Stone and Mr Pitiful, songs that make you want to tap your feet, songs that make you want to join in with, songs that you just want to enjoy!

From book to film the story now evolves to the stage in this touring production that comes to Ipswich this week as part of it’s UK and Ireland tour.

The story is the same, the formation of the group, their evolution into amazing performers and the ultimate end. 

Personally I must admit the stage version is slightly watered down and lacks the grittiness of the movie, that said it’s one of the most entertaining two hours that you could wish to experience.

I’d have happily just gone along to hear this superb cast perform. Ian Macintosh is great as the talented but arrogant Eco, Ciara Mackey, Eve Kitchingman and Sarah Gardiner are brilliant as the female members of the band, they could easily breakaway to give a performance all on their own.

No cast member will disappoint and all bring the music alive in a way that you feel you are watching a band’s performance as much as a play.

Most of the big numbers you will remember from the movie are here, those previously mentioned plus of course Mustang Sally however others including “The Dark End of the Street” have sadly been left out. In their place there are some different numbers including Reach Out, I’ll be There; What Becomes of the Broken Hearted and a brilliant rendition of It’s a Thin Line Between Love and Hate.

A great alternative to movie but most of all a great toe-tapping, clapping, sing-a-long evening of brilliant music performed by a brilliant cast…. Book now!

The Commitments is at The Ipswich Regent until Saturday 4th March, 2023 – tickets

Review: Mark Keable, Ipswich24 Magazine
Pictures: Ellie Kurttz