There are two reasons why I don’t want to be too harsh with The Commitments. One has nothing to do with the show (my friend kindly invited me and he has a thing about the film). The other is that this is a very obviously young and enthusiastic cast.
Having said that, I have promised that this will be an honest blog so I will say sorry to my friend (and the cast) but I must note that The Commitments felt like nothing special. A bit of a shame that really.
Even though there are a number of audience-pleasing songs delivered with gusto from some great vocalists and musicians (the band is excellent) the actual story never comes together.
I have been in a band. I know how it feels to put something new together, to fight with someone, to have fun, to enjoy it, to feel creative. None of these things came together for me in The Commitments. The lines are tired, the jokes stale, the conviction that this story could have happened was just not there. What were those people feeling? No idea. Why did it all happen? No idea.
The set by Soutra Gilmour is quite good and the director manages to create a feeling of cramped conditions even if the walls are absent (for example in the garage they are rehearsing). Lighting was a bit much (sunglasses anyone?).
I do have to say that Ian McIntosh as Deco was energetic and very very charming – even when the character is a prick. He is the alternate Deco and he works for his credits, make no mistake. Denis Grindel as Jimmy is quite lovely but he is definitely not helped by the lines. Sure, they get some laughs but overall he is constrained by the fact he has to utter them – I was burying my self in my seat for a lot of them.
The best one for me was Joe Woolmer as Mickah. I had classmates that were Mickah, it was as if I was back in school (we don’t wear uniforms in Greece so I saw Mickah every day). Everything about the character (dressing department deserves congratulations for this one too) strikes true. The man rocks the part.
Apart from the unconvincing non-singing parts I also found a treasure trove of tired jokes and tricks to please some members of the audience. I mean, Ian McIntosh changing his clothes and us seeing him in his Superman speedos? The lad is cute but there is absolutely no reason to see him in his undies unless we are counting the wolf whistles from women old enough to be his nan. Seriously, I thought musicals would have moved on a bit.
Last thought? Not recommended. But I will be watching certain members of the cast as I think they will go on to do very exciting things.
Disclosure: Saw The Commitments on 06 May 2014 and we paid for our tickets in full. No prior discussion with the theatre took place.
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