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Review The Commitments at The Manchester Opera House

Review The Commitments Band on Stage Credit Ellie Kurttz
6 Jun 2023

After a record run in the West End, The Commitments is back in Manchester at the Opera House and you can discover what we thought in our review.

Based on The Commitments award-winning film and Roddy Doyle’s book the adapted stage show is currently on its tour of the UK.

We were invited along to the Manchester Opera House for the purpose of an honest review and we asked our On The Go Reviewer Gemma to check it out, here is what she thought. 

Review The Commitments at The Manchester Opera House

Review The Commitments Photo Ellie Kurttz Backup singers
Credit Ellie Kurttz

I have to admit having never read the book or seen the film, I was unsure of what to expect from The Commitments, however, I was nicely surprised.

For those unaware, set in Dublin in the 80s the show follows Jimmy Kileen who is on a mission to put together a new band.

After a series of hilarious auditions, he discovers musical talent in the most unlikely of characters to make the ‘hardest working band in the world’. 

As Soul, as there sound, they cover some of the best of the 60’s with the aim to bring working man music to the working class of Dublin. 

They are set to be a big hit but only if they manage to stay together, a hard task with a big ego and a womaniser part of the group. 

The show starts with Tina Turner’s Rolling Down The River, setting high expectations, which were definitely met. 

Ben Morris plays The Commitments’ lead singer Deco, the big talent of the band with the arrogance to match. Morris has the swagger mixed with comedy timing – watch out for the Superman Y-fronts as his behaviour alienates him from the rest of the band. 

He also proves that he has the voice required for a soul band, hitting all the notes even with a mouth full of chips. 

Review The Commitments Photo Ellie Kurttz Jimmy
Credit Ellie Kurttz

The ‘backup’ singers Ciara Mackey as Imelda, Eve Kitchingman Natalie and Sarah Gardiner as Bernie give Morris a run for his money as they are forced to constantly step up to the mic, as Deco is never on time. 

James Killeen was great as Jimmy, The Commitments’ determined manager as he tries to keep the band on track. He has a great report with Nigel Pivaro (former Coronation Street’s Terry Duckworth) as Jimmy’s Da. 

Stuart Reid as Joey The Lips, the band’s Romeo who makes his way through the backup singers, and Ronnie York as the rough and ready bouncer Mickah also deserve a mention. 

Review The Commitments Photo Ellie Kurttz Joey The Lips
Credit Ellie Kurttz

The highlight of the show is certainly the soundtrack which moves through soul hits such as Mustang Sally, Knock On Wood, right through to Proud Mary, You Keep Me Hangin’ On. 

Those itching to belt out the number throughout will be glad to hear that the audience is treated to what can only be described as a The Commitments mini concert where the audience is invited to their feet to dance and sing along. 

The Commitments is showing until Saturday 10th June 2023 and offers a great night out and one not to miss for any Motown lovers out there. 

Tickets for The Commitments at Manchester Opera House are available here. 


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