REVIEW: The Commitments at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

The Commitments. Picture by Johan Persson
The Commitments. Picture by Johan Persson
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It’s energetic ensemble cast presented brilliantly as amateur musicians coming together to play and sing down to the detail of the backing girls first choreography being out of step. One rubbed her eyes mid-dance, taking a moment from the breakneck speed and energy. This was excellent, believable attention to detail.

A busy set divides the stage effectively between pub, living room, garage, bingo hall and more, with the cast enabled to move between areas without the need to worry about doors. This adds to the fluidity of the storytelling which travels around locations and moments at speed, but still keeps the audience engrossed in the action. That said, with 11 principles on stage all totally committed to their characters, you feel as if you need to see it several time to catch everything.

The story of a band was told with actor/musicians, which always leaves the audience wondering which bits were played live and which were backing track. This was difficult to tell in the main (a good thing) but unfortunately the crucial three lines of the musical which bring the second act to a close were lost to a swelling momentum of pre-record meaning the moment on which a romance hinged was lost.

Overall The Commitments delivers on an imagined promise – and that’s great music, sung brilliantly with enough nods to the film to keep all entertained.

Until February 4.