The Commitments, the hugely successful and popular film by Sir Alan Parker based on the bestselling book the same name, is heading to the stage. The story of working-class Dubliners who form an unlikely soul band appears to be a perfect fit for the West End stage, and you'd be forgiven for assuming it's already a musical, so why has it taken some 25 years to get it there?
One huge reason is that writer Roddy Doyle thought he did not like musicals. "I'd never been to one," he said whilst announcing the show in London this week. The Booker prize-winning novelist said he'd had something of an epiphany when he began attending musicals once his children grew up. "I think the first was The Producers. It was quite a revelation because the film is terrific and I was wondering why would you want to do a musical? And actually it was great, it was very funny and sharp and you forgot about the film quite quickly," he told reporters at the announcement.
After battling away around 20 requests to bring The Commitments to a live audience, Doyle finally gave in and previews will begin in September at the Palace theatre, where Singin' in the Rain closes in June. One of the finest British movies of recent times, The Commitments began to take over Doyle's life to the point that he began to resent it. "I dismissed The Commitments for a long, long time to the extent I forgot I had anything to do with it."
The new show is produced by Phil McIntyre and directed by rising star Jamie Lloyd, currently working with James McAvoy in Macbeth.
Alan Parker, Pictured Here At The Red Light Awards, Directed The Commitments Movie