All the world’s a stage for Commitments’ hopefuls

More than 100 young people turned out for yesterday’s auditions

Even in an age when the television talent shows have become wearily familiar, auditions for a West End stage version of The Commitments still has the power to excite.

Wannabees queued from 5am yesterday morning to take part in auditions at the Troubadour Rehearsal Studios in an industrial park off Richmond Road in Dublin.

The original film, from 1991, launched the careers of Glen Hansard, Maria Doyle-Kennedy, Angeline Ball and Andrea Corr, among others.

The 118 hopefuls who were auditioned yesterday will hope for something similar in the fickle world of showbusiness.


The Commitments – the musical will be different from The Commitments – the film in that it will be based exclusively on the original book. "Roddy Doyle is taking it right back to the roots again," said casting director David Grinrod.

Mr Grinrod pronounced himself well pleased with the outcome of yesterday’s rehearsals, saying he had found at least two people to take part in the stage musical.

“There’s one who is a farmer’s boy and there’s a girl who works for a well-known shop and she’s getting through as well,” he said.

“We’ve had all sorts from cabaret singers to those who play in bands to those who have no experience whatsoever.”

The new stage show will be set in working-class Dublin.

The producers are confining their search to women between their late teenage years and early 20s who can sing and male actor-musicians in their late teens and early 20s who can play an instrument.

Each was asked to sing at least one song, while the musicians were asked to play a “party piece” as well as sing.

The one exception will be the character to play Joey "The Lips" Fagan, who was played by the actor Johnny Murphy in the film.

Unlike Murphy, the character in the stage production will have to know how to play the trumpet.

It was a long day for many of those who turned out yesterday. Hazel Bracken (22) from Tallaght waited seven hours and auditioned for one of the roles as a backing singer in the stage show.

She is currently studying for a drama degree in London and will graduate in July, just in time for the start of rehearsals in August if she gets the role.

"It was my first West End audition. It was a great experience even if I don't get it." She sang You Might Need Somebody by Randy Crawford.

Claire Halligan (24) from Leixlip has been performing since she was five.

“I’d go for anything that is available. To get on to the West End would be such a dream.”

Shane Fallon (27) from Ranelagh, who had a guitar slung across his shoulder, was equally willing to settle for any role. Rehearsals will continue today.

The show is to debut at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End this autumn with a view to bringing it to Dublin at a later date.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times