Sunday, 17 November 2013

'The Commitments' Palace Theatre ***

What can I say about the musical production of Roddy Doyle's 'The Commitments'? The performance is rather satisfactory is terms of the plotline and the direction is somewhat average but pleasing nevertheless. The storyline focuses around a small Irish community in Dublin 1986 and how a young aspiring music producer who is desperate to make a success for himself decides to form a soul group with members of his community as the musicians themselves. The narrative is far too simplistic for my liking as it seems that the community is a mixture of working class and pretentious beings and the dialogue leaves a lot to be desired. There's a lot a negativity that ran through my body throughout the performance. However the performances by the company were well presented through to the delivery of the acting, singing and dancing (or lack of). The producer of the band Jimmy, played by the outstanding Denis Grindel suggests a young mans wish and passion to form a group that could send a wave of splendour to Irish communities who are going through difficult times. In addition, the character explores the power of music producing and it seems there are influences of Stock, Aitken and Waterman exuding through the research of the music industry during the 1980's to devise spectacular soulful music. I found Killian Donnely's performance of The Commitments' lead singer Deco to be of a good standard as he conveys quite an uneducated man who seems to find music to be the only worthwhile skill he has in his life but his constant arrogant personality seems to make the other band members full of immense hatred towards him. The direction by Jamie Lloyd was of an acceptable and sound quality as he has worked with Doyle's dialogue and narrative in such a creative way and that his understanding of Irish communities of the 1980's seemed to be highly comprehensive. On the other hand I do feel that the staging could have had more precision and ease as it seemed for too improvised for ones critical opinion. The set and costume design by Soutra Gilmour was pretty impressive as she has captured the bleak atmosphere that surrounds 1986 Dublin and the tough situations that Ireland were going through at this time with the IRA. On the whole a brilliant design that was thoroughly thought of with care and attention. Gilmour never fails to amaze me and I feel that she deserves to win an Olivie Award next Spring. I think that 'The Commitments' is a musical that can appeal to a wide range of audience from a variety of different ages.

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