Reliving 1991… the year of the Rabbitte

by Emma Nolan

“IT’S our responsibility to bring it home”. This was the collective outlook of the cast of The Commitment stage ensemble, who chatted to The Gazette on the 25th anniversary of the iconic movie as the production comes home to Dublin after two years on the West End.
Some 30 years since The Commitments first burst from the pages of Roddy Doyle’s best-selling novel, the world’s hardest working soul band will be going on a seven-month UK tour.
“We really want to take care of the characters,” said Andrew Linne, who plays the part of Jimmy Rabbitte.
When asked if they felt added pressure bringing the story home to Dublin, each cast member agreed emphatically with Andrew, who said: “We have a responsibility to the Dublin audience.”
He added: “This is the audience that really cares about the characters, so we have to be truthful to them while also being conscious of first-time viewers.”
The cast told The Gazette that they feel their performance of the story “reflects real life”.
Amy Penston, who plays Natalie, said: “We’re a group of people coming together for a common cause: to make music and entertain – just like The Commitments.”
Amy’s sister, Leah, is playing Imelda, and Christina Tedders, as Bernie, completes the backing trio.
Christina said: “I have loved The Commitments since I was a little girl – my nightly renditions of Mustang Sally were both the joy and bane of my parents’ evenings!”
Leah said: “I’m so thrilled to be joining the cast of The Commitments, playing the role of Imelda Quirke, which was originally portrayed in the film by Angeline Ball. I have some pretty big shoes to fill!”
Also appearing on the tour, having appeared in the West End production, are Peter Mooney (Derek), Padraig Dooney (Dean), Sam Fordham (Mickah) and John Currivan (Billy).
They will be joined by Rhys Whitfield (James), Alex McMorran (Joey), and Christian James (Outspan) and Kevin Kennedy, of Coronation Street fame.
Speaking about his story coming to life on both stage and screen, author Roddy Doyle said: “I wrote the novel – invented the characters – in 1986, and it thrills me to think that they will be entertaining audiences throughout the UK and Ireland in 2016.”
The Commitments will run in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre from October 12 to 29, and tickets are on sale now.

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