Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments to open in West End this September
A stage version of Roddy Doyle’s book The Commitments will open at London’s Palace Theatre in September, directed by Jamie Lloyd and featuring a cast of “genuine raw talent”.
The show, adapted for the stage by Doyle himself, will open at the theatre on October 8, following previews from September 21.
All preview tickets for the production will be half price, starting at £5 when bought directly from the box office, where no booking fee applies.
In addition, more than 100,000 tickets will be made available for the show’s initial one-year booking period for £10.
Lloyd said he hoped this would encourage younger people, and those who cannot normally afford to come to the theatre, to buy tickets.
“It [the show] is about the working class, and I came from a low-income background. A lot of my family have not seen any of my productions, as they have not been able to afford to. In a way it’s brilliant that a show that celebrates the working classes is saying, ‘It’s available to all - you’re welcome’,” he said.
Lloyd revealed that the cast will be made up predominantly of Irish performers, aged between 18 and 24, who play their own instruments. Many of them will make their West End debut in the production.
He said he did not think the unknown cast – which he described as “genuine raw talent” – would put audiences off, and added: “I hope they will be excited about discovering new talent. Clearly there is a desire to, given Britain’s Got Talent and the rest of it, where you want to see people from the street making good. In a way, I think that is what we are doing.”
The director also said he is not labelling the show a “musical”, and said that no songs in the production “exist outside a rehearsal room or a gig”. Music for the production is still being chosen, but will include Mustang Sally.
Although there is a film of The Commitments, Lloyd described the stage version of Doyle’s book as its “own entity”.
“It has to exist in its own right otherwise there is no point doing it,” he added.
The show is choreographed by Ann Yee, with sound by Rory Madden and design by Soutra Gilmour.
It is being produced by The Commitments London, with Alan Williams as music supervisor and lighting by Jon Clark.