The Commitments celebrates first birthday

Jamie Lloyd's production of The Commitments has celebrated its first birthday at the Palace Theatre by throwing an after-show party last night, attended by most of the cast. The musical, which is based on the novel by Roddy Doyle and the film of the same name, originally opened at the Palace on 8 October 2013, following previews from 21 September 2013, and is currently taking bookings until 19 April 2015.

The second year of the show's run has been marked with some minor changes, including the removal of an audience participation section which had previously closed the first act and a reduced Eurovision Song Contest scene. Sarah O'Connor, who plays Imelda (one of The Commitmentettes), said that the changes had 'refreshed' the production and had been designed to get the show to focus more on it's storyline.

Denis Grindel (Jimmy), said that he was still very excited to be in the show and is looking forward to another year. The Commitments marks Grindel's West End debut, after graduating last year with a Masters in Music Theatre from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

The production has also recently undergone some cast changes, most notably with Brian Gilligan as Deco (lead singer of The Commitments group), taking over from Killian Donnelly, who will soon be appearing in Memphis The Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Brian Gilligan previously played the role of drummer Billy 'The Animal' Mooney in The Commitments and thanked the audience at the end of last night's show, going on to say that the first year had been 'unbelievable'.

Other cast members include Natalie Hope (Natalie), Jessica Cervi (Bernie), Anthony Hunt (Joey ‘The Lips’), Mark Dugdale (Derek), John Currivan (Billy), Andrew Linnie (Dean), Sam Fordham (Mickah), John McClarnon (Outspan) and Barnaby Southgate (James).

The Commitments centres around Jimmy Rabbitte, a working class music fan, who brings together several amateur musicians and friends to form a live act with the purpose of turning them into 'the finest soul band Dublin has ever seen'. The jukebox musical features songs such as Aretha Franklin's "Think", The Temptations' "Papa Was A Rolling Stone", Wilson Pickett's "In The Midnight Hour" and Otis Redding's "Try A Little Tenderness".

The show has been adapted for the stage by Roddy Doyle and is directed by Jamie Lloyd.

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