Review The Commitments UK Tour 2023, Manchester


Last night I spent a couple of hours reliving memories and soaking up every second of what I can only describe as a gritty ball of pure joy at The Commitments UK Tour at the Opera House Manchester. Before we start, I have only ever fallen in love with one voice in my life, not a person, just a voice. And that voice belonged to Andrew Strong, so this show had much to live up to.

Commitments tour Review Photo©EllieKurttz_The Commitments_Tour2022_PRO_047_Large

Review the Commitments UK Tour 2023, Manchester

A Little About the Commitments

The Commitments is a musical comedy-drama film released in 1991. Based on the novel of the same name by Roddy Doyle and was directed by Alan Parker. The movie follows the story of a group of working-class musicians from Dublin, Ireland, who form a soul band called “The Commitments.

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Featuring a talented ensemble cast of mostly unknown actors. Thus capturing the raw energy and spirit of the characters. The film showcases the power of music to unite people from diverse backgrounds and provides a humorous and heartfelt exploration of dreams, ambition, and the pursuit of fame.

Review the Commitments Tour Manchester Opera House Photo©EllieKurttz_The Commitments_Tour2022_PRO_056_Large

The movie gained critical acclaim for its energetic performances, memorable soundtrack, and authentic portrayal of Dublin’s music scene. It received several awards and nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Film Editing.

The Commitments was then adapted into a successful stage show. The stage adaptation premiered in London’s West End in 2013. The stage show brings the music of The Commitments to life with live performances of soul classics.

Review the Commitments Photo©EllieKurttz_The Commitments_Tour2022_PRO_068_Large

What is The Show About?

Set against the backdrop of recession-era Dublin. The Commitments tells how a diverse group of working-class musicians from Dublin unite to form a soul band—led by their ambitious, charismatic manager Jimmy Rabbitte (James Killeen). The band members navigate the challenges of creating a cohesive musical group. Whilst dealing with personal issues, love and life and also striving for success.

My Review of The Commitments

I went into this with the approach that I would love the music but may not be blown away. How wrong can a person be? The build-up is slow and initially feels odd; it makes you wonder if you will love this show. However, I believe this is intentional, as when it hits you, it’s not a subtle build-up. But a “boom, this is what this show is about, and we are The Commitments.” The force is quite a powerful one.

Deco (Ben Morris) is a grower; his character builds power throughout the show, lulling you into a false sense that he’s voice may not be up to the job, and then bang, there it is, all the power needed to command such a part, and wow once you realise, you’re in.

The girls, on the other hand, Imelda (Ciara Mackey), Bernie (Sarah Gardiner) and Natalie (Eve Kitchingman), were the glue that built the story as you waited for the band to grow and develop. And build they did into something quite extraordinary. The voices and talent of the whole cast are phenomenal. I loved the comedy element Stephen O’Riain brought as James and Stuart Reid as Joey The Lips.

Review the Commitments Tour Photo©EllieKurttz_The Commitments_Tour2022_PRO_118_Large

Also, the set was genius, not over-complicated, but I loved how balconies converted to bedrooms with a quick flip. It all added to the gritty story and worked so well.

All the tracks were fabulous, and the audience was up dancing, loving every second. It’s hard to choose a stand-out favourite; however, it went silent when they sang Try A Little Tenderness. Even though everyone was up on their feet, everything stopped. I honestly could have cried. It was stunning. And when it’s a song that come through life with you, nothing more than perfect will do, and it was.

Photo©EllieKurttz_The Commitments_Tour2022_PRO_286_Large

Where can I see The Commitments UK Tour

The Commitments is at the Opera House Manchester until Saturday 10th June with tickets from £13.00.

Then on tour at the following locations.

  • READING The Hexagon, 13 – 17 Jun
  • LEEDS Grand Theatre, 19 – 24 Jun
  • NEWCASTLE Theatre Royal, 26 Jun – 01 Jul

I was gifted the tickets in return for an honest review. And you can’t argue with voices and talent to that level. See here for more theatre reviews and Christmas Shows in Manchester.

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