It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 30 years since I first saw “The Commitments” movie! When I heard that The Commitments was coming to the Liverpool Empire, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to watch it again and my husband came along too. The Commitments had had a successful West End run, so I was excited to catch it in my home time at the Liverpool Empire.
The Commitments which follows a group of musicians on their journey to form a soul band, was originally self-published by author Roddy Doyle in 1987 with a £5,000 bank loan. Despite receiving mixed reviews, the book gained a cult following after Elvis Costello praised its accurate depiction of life in a band. The book was eventually picked up by a publisher, and the rest is history.
Going into the show, I was curious to see how the book and movie would translate to a stage musical. The soundtrack, featuring soul classics, was undeniably strong, but I wondered how the story would come to life on stage.
The main issue for me was that whilst the songs were as strong as ever, the story needed them to be played badly at first, and this didn’t quite work for me in the show. It just felt like the show wasn’t quite good enough. I was also a bit disappointed by the jokes, which felt outdated and Benny Hill-esque at times. The characters from the movie didn’t seem to develop much, leaving newcomers, or those like me who couldn’t quite recall the story, to feel a bit left out. The actors did a great job with the limited script they had, but I couldn’t help feel like something was missing.
Despite its shortcomings, the show’s talented cast made up for it with their musical and vocal skills and it was in the second half of the show that the whole thing came alive. It was a much stronger performance than the first half as the actors really showed us what they were made of. It must in reality of been quite hard for them to sing not quite as well in the first half. The audience really came to life during the mini concert at the end with the whole place on their feet.
Overall, “The Commitments” is definitely worth seeing, even if it falls short of the movie’s humor and fun.
You can buy tickets here.
Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.