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The Commitments Musical - UK Tour Preview

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Try A Little Tenderness With Commitments Tour
Three decades since The Commitments first burst from the pages of Roddy Doyle's best-selling novel, the world's hardest working soul band will be going on a seven month UK tour.

The Commitments, Roddy Doyle, rock musical, Uk tour, Birmingham, Manchester, London
A scene from The Commitments musical


The smash hit musical will begin at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley on October 3, before opening in Dublin for the first time ever. It will then travel to theatres across the UK including New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham and Manchester's Palace Theatre until May 2017.

The UK tour of The Commitments will feature many of the cast from the record breaking show's two-year run at London's Palace Theatre, including Brian Gilligan who will reprise his starring role of Deco and Andrew Linnie who will star as Jimmy Rabbitte.

While Kevin Kennedy who won the hearts of the nation when he starred as Curly Watts in Coronation Street, will play Jimmy's Da.

The Commitments tells the story of Jimmy Rabbitte, a young working class music fan, who shapes an unlikely bunch of amateur musicians into an amazing live act, the finest soul band Dublin has ever produced.

The Commitments, Roddy Doyle, rock musical, Uk tour, Birmingham, Manchester, London
Crowds love the music in The Commitments musical


The show follows the journey of two members of a frustrated synthesiser band. Placing a classified advert in a music paper, Jimmy auditions a number of wannabes before finalising the new line up who he names The Commitments. The humour kicks in as the band get to know each other and their instruments, and proceed through early rehearsals for their first gig.

Just as they improve and begin to get a name for themselves they combust for various comedic reasons.

Directed by C Jay Ranger, The Commitments is packed with more than 20 classic soul songs performed live on stage including: Night Train, Try A Little Tenderness, River Deep, Mountain High, In The Midnight Hour and Papa Was A Rolling Stone.

The Commitments, Roddy Doyle, rock musical, Uk tour, Birmingham, Manchester, London
The Commitments goes to theatres across the UK on tour


To keep audiences on their feet there's also Save Me, Mustang Sally, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Reach Out, Uptight, Knock On Wood and I Can't Turn You Loose.

The show has been adapted for the stage by Booker Prize-winning author Roddy Doyle, from his original novel. Roddy Doyle said: "The Commitments were born in Dublin, moved to London, and will soon be hopping all over the shop. I wrote the novel – invented the characters – in 1986, and it thrills me to think that they will be entertaining audiences throughout the UK and Ireland 30 years later, in 2016."

Fate has played a part in getting Andrew Linnie the lead role of Jimmy. Linnie was originally part of the West End production's ensemble, but saved the day when the actor playing Jimmy Rabbitte damaged his knee and both of the understudies were unavailable.

Despite not having performed the role before on stage, Andrew stepped up to the plate to take over that the role that evening, and received a standing ovation after just a few hours rehearsals. He then carried on playing the role for the rest of the week and got great reviews for his performances. After performing the role in the West End, Andrew will now play Jimmy Rabbitte on the UK tour.

The Commitments, Roddy Doyle, rock musical, Uk tour, Birmingham, Manchester, London
Roddy Doyle (pictured) wrote the story of The Commitments


The Commitmentettes will be played by sisters Amy Penston, (Natalie) and Leah Penston (Imelda), while Christina Tedders (Bernie) will complete the talented trio. Also appearing on the tour, having appeared in the West End production, are Peter Mooney (Derek), Padraig Dooney (Dean), Sam Fordham (Mickah) and John Currivan (Billy). They will be joined by Rhys Whitfield (James), Alex McMorran (Joey), and Christian James (Outspan).


The Commitments UK & Ireland Tour Dates
Tickets cost from £21.90 and are available from the ATG Theatre ticket website.

2016 Dates
3 – 7 October Bromley Churchill Theatre
12 – 29 October Dublin Bord Gαis Theatre
1 – 5 November Milton Keynes Theatre
7 – 12 November Nottingham Theatre Royal
14 – 19 November Stoke Regent Theatre
21 – 26 November Sheffield Lyceum Theatre
28 Nov – 3 December Norwich Theatre Royal
5 – 10 December Leeds Grand Theatre
12 – 30 December Glasgow Theatre Royal

2017 Dates
2 – 7 January Brighton Theatre Royal
9 – 14 January Oxford New Theatre
16 – 21 January Liverpool Empire
23 - 28 January Belfast Opera House
30 Jan – 4 February Southampton Mayflower
6 – 11 February Newcastle Theatre Royal
13 – 18 February York Grand Opera House
20 – 25 February Bristol Hippodrome
27 Feb – 5 March Edinburgh Playhouse
7 – 11 March Aberdeen His Majesty's Theatre
13 – 18 March Birmingham New Alexandra Theatre
20 – 25 March Canterbury Marlow Theatre
27 March – 8 April Manchester Palace Theatre
10 - 15 April Cardiff Millennium
17 – 22 April Woking New Victoria Theatre
24 – 29 April Plymouth Theatre Royal
1 – 6 May Southend Cliffs Pavilion
8 – 13 May Bradford Alhambra Theatre
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Why? Enjoy great music & comedy in The Commitments
When: Touring from October 2016 to May 2017
Phone: Various - see theatre list
Where: UK and Ireland tour - Birmingham, London, Manchester, Dublin
Cost: From £21
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