The Commitments 2023

Wales Millennium Centre


To May 27

Rolling on the River got the theatre rocking by the bay, right away, at last night’s show.

Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments has returned to the Wales Millennium Centre with a soulful cast and genius set-design.

Directed by Andrew Linnie, the show was carried by its musical performances. As far as I could tell, the cast were playing their own instruments for the most part, making me feel like I was really at their gigs.

These were the moments when I felt like I was watching a real-life band come together and try to make it.

I have to specifically mention the singers, as their voices were incredible. Ben Morris, who played the lead singer and naturally-talented-and-knows-it Deco, gave the songs everything he had and hit every note doing it.

MaryAnn Lynch, who is making her professional debut in The Commitments, also stepped in to play one of the three backing singers, Natalie. She certainly showed she has what it takes to play a leading role, and her dancing experience was apparent as she hit every point right on the beat.

I have to say though, my favourite character from this show remains Mickah, played by Ronnie Yorke. He’s the band’s bodyguard. An unhinged, no-nonsense skinhead that won’t think twice before putting his head through yours, if you act out of line. He’s also got talent at drums and an appreciation for good music, so he’s alright. Just don’t disrespect the band.

The set design, by Tim Blazdell, was interesting, too. With is many moving, flipping and folding parts that helped made each scene change as seamless as it could be.

The show as a whole did feel a little too quick in places compared to other runs in the past, but it only lasted for around two hours which is fairly short for a theatrical production like this. It was the Soul numbers that made the show, and the flow between them wasn’t jarring, just seemed a little hasty.

To close, and for what it’s worth, Heard it through the Grapevine was the best performed song by both the singers and musicians. Goosebumps all round. I would definitely recommend seeing this show if you can.

Roddy Doyle’s ‘The Commitments’ is showing at the Wales Millennium Centre from May 22 to May 27, 2023.

Ollie Barnes