Saturday 17 March 2018

Doyle's planning to take Barrytown to West End

Roddy Doyle: reworking his famous novel into a musical
Roddy Doyle: reworking his famous novel into a musical

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Reporter

TWENTY- three years after he self-published his comic novel 'The Commitments', Booker prize winning Irish writer Roddy Doyle is preparing to turn it into a major West End Show.

The Irish Independent has learned while the stars of 'The Commitments' film launched a series of reunion concerts yesterday, the author, on whose book the story is based, is himself reworking the story for a stage musical.

Roddy Doyle was a Dublin school teacher when he self-published the first part of his Barrytown trilogy. Four years later in 1991, it was turned into a major film by director Alan Parker with Doyle collaborating on the screenplay with writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. Roddy Doyle enhanced his reputation with further novels including 'Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha' in 1993 which won the Booker Prize.

Although always adamant he would never involve himself in a sequel to 'The Commitments', sources say with the 20th anniversary of the film's release next year, Doyle is now reworking the novel for a potential stage show in 2011/2012. What is as yet unknown is whether any members of the original cast will be involved.

"I'm not sure if Roddy would be interested in having me play myself but I know Roddy Doyle has the utmost integrity in everything he does," said Andrew Strong who played lead singer Deco Cuffe in the film

Doyle's plan for a stage musical was alluded to yesterday when Andrew Strong joined fellow Commitments stars at the theatre in Liberty Hall to launch a series of 20th Anniversary concerts in March next year.

But while they presented a united front, insiders say relations had not been as cordial when they met up for their first rehearsal.

A major bone of contention had been members Dick Massey and Ken McCluskey's 'Stars Of The Commitments' group which have been touring on the back on the film since its release

"It was more like a therapy session where everyone was asked to get anything off their chest they wanted to say. Some in the band weren't happy that they didn't have control or input in something that represented a part of their lives. What was said cleared the air and everybody is getting on great now," said a band source.

Original backing singer Maria Doyle Kennedy was missing yesterday due to filming commitments. The decision to donate some of the proceeds from the tour to the Irish Cancer Society is a result of another missing member, respected Abbey actor Johnny Murphy aka 'Joey The Lips', who is being treated for cancer.

Irish Independent

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