IT’S 30 years since The Commitments - the world’s hardest working soul band - first burst from the pages of Roddy Doyle’s best-selling novel.
At the Playhouse, next week, there’s a chance to meet them again as Corrie favourite Kevin Kennedy stars as Jimmy’s Da in The Commitments UK Tour, direct from London’s West End.
Kennedy, who won the hearts of the nation when he starred as Curly Watts in Coronation Street, last appeared at the Playhouse in We Will Rock You.
He says, “After working abroad, I am delighted to be returning to such an iconic musical as The Commitments.
“It is a pleasure to travel around the country playing to the enthusiastic audiences who love this show.”
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.
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.
But just as they begin to make a name for themselves they combust.
The backing singers are all getting off with the middle aged horn playing legend, the singer has entered Eurovision, the drummer has walked out mid-gig and the saxophone player has dangerous leanings towards a jazz career.
The UK tour also features many of the cast from the record breaking show’s two year run at London’s Palace Theatre, including Brian Gilligan who is returning to his starring role as Deco and Andrew Linnie who stars as Jimmy Rabbitte.
Gilligan, who originally played the role of drummer Billy ‘The Animal’ Mooney in the West End production, says, “I am very fortunate to be returning to a role and show that I really love. It’s gonna be exciting.”
Andrew 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, Linnie 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 says, “I made my West End debut in this show and couldn’t be more delighted to be returning to play the wonderful music again.”
The Commitments, The Playhouse, Greenside Place, Monday-Saturday, 7.30pm (matinees 2.30pm), £21.90-£53.90, 0844-871 3014