Liam Rudden: Hit but still running in Dublin

CHRISTINE. Put that name to the back of your mind for a moment. Not that it's particularly relevant to The Commitments, the musical that brought me to Dublin earlier this week.

Saturday, 29th October 2016, 10:00 am
Updated Monday, 31st October 2016, 8:44 am
Liam Rudden in Dublin

A press trip to the emerald isle to check out a production ahead of its Edinburgh run is always a bonus. It’s the old country, my mother’s homeland.

Consequently, any opportunity to spend time there is welcome, especially as it means I get to catch up with the coolest Godmother on the planet, who, thanks to attending numerous press nights with me has become a bit of a celebrity in her own right.

Not only has ‘Aunty Eileen’ swapped ghost stories with Sir Cameron Mackintosh, but her appearance on the red-carpet for Mary Poppins ended up on national TV in Ireland. A star was born.

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This time around, it was Roddy Doyle’s Dublin-set musical charting the rise and fall of The Commitments that reunited us at the spectacular Bord Gais Theatre, one of Europe’s finest venues.

Packed with soul classics like River Deep, Mountain High, Mustang Sally and I Heard It Through The Grapevine, The Commitments is 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.

Along with many of the London West End cast, Brian Gilligan reprises the lead role of Deco, while Andrew Linnie is Jimmy Rabbitte.

The touring production also features Corrie legend Kevin Kennedy, last seen in the Capital in Queen’s We Will Rock You, as Jimmy’s Da. The Commitments comes to The Playhouse, 27 February to 5 March, next year.

Forty-eight hours later, I was on the set of Ireland’s top-rated crime drama Red Rock.

The series, which is also shown on daytime BBC, although currently between series, is filming its third batch of episodes in Ireland right now.

As ever, when I do a set visit, it never ceases to amaze me just how tight everything is for space. Suddenly wide-open offices and spacious living rooms seem to shrink, cameras just inches from actors’ faces.

Then it was a dash across the city to see legendary film maker and composer John Carpenter live in concert at Vicar Street, another great venue in the heart of the city.

A busy city. With lots of cars. One of which took me out. It’s amazing... 1: how stupid you feel when you get hit by a car... 2: how quickly you bounce back up... and 3: the noise a body on moving metal makes. It’s loud.

Battered and bruised, but having made a speedy recovery, I had to smile when Carpenter closed a cracking set of his signature themes and tracks for his Lost Themes albums with, well what else could it be...

Thanking the sell out crowd for coming, he warned us to watch out for Christine, his possessed car, on the way home.

Now that I think of it, I’m sure the car that hit me was red.