The Singing Rabbitte

The Singing Rabbitte 4

Posted on October 8th, by admin in Blog, The Singing Rabbitte. 1 Comment

The show opens tomorrow night.

The previews have been running for more than two weeks. I went home to Dublin for a weekend but, other than that, I’ve been here, in the Palace Theatre, every night, and twice last Saturday.  But, actually, the word ‘twice’ is a bit meaningless, because I haven’t seen the same show twice.

Changes – some drastic, some tiny – have been made every day. A song has, rightly, gone into the bin, and whole chunks of dialogue.  Lines have been added; lights have been shifted. One song has a new ending; an onstage salesman has become a milkman.  A bus stop logo has been replaced: ‘1986’ has been added to a line.

1986 was when I wrote The Commitments. Onstage, Jimmy announces the band’s first gig, reciting poster-copy: ‘Saturday 24 March, 1986.  In Barrytown Community Centre. The Hardest Working Band in the World. The Saviours of Soul. The Commitments.  Bringing The People’s Music To The People.’

I first wrote those lines on the 24th of the March, 1986. Now … Read More »

The Singing Rabbitte 3

Posted on September 25th, by admin in Blog, The Singing Rabbitte. No Comments

The Singing Rabbitte:



I didn’t smile during the first half.  I’m referring to the Chelsea-Fulham match, not The Commitments.  But it’s true of both events.

I went to the Chelsea game last Saturday, to take my mind off the first preview of The Commitments.  It didn’t really work.  The football was bad and the man beside me who kept shouting, ‘You’re not farking Arsenal!’, stopped being amusing after the seventh or eighth roar.

I left at half-time.  It wasn’t a protest.  It had been a late kick-off – 5.30pm – and I had to get to the Palace Theatre by 7.30pm, for the preview.  Chelsea scored twice while I was on the Tube, so my departure was a stroke of tactical genius that Jose Mourinho failed to acknowledge after the game.

But, anyway, I went from one event that irritated me – I usually love being at Stamford Bridge – to … Read More »

The Singing Rabbitte: 2

Posted on September 20th, by admin in Blog, The Singing Rabbitte. No Comments

The Singing Rabbitte:


I went to have a look at the Black Market Clash exhibition on Berwick Street a few nights ago, during a break in rehearsals in the Palace Theatre.  I didn’t have much time, but I didn’t need much.  It’s a quick, witty charge through images and sound – a bit like a Clash song.  But it got me thinking about the past and the present and the music we take with us from then to now.

There’s a line in the Commitments script that the young actor playing Jimmy Rabbitte, Denis Grndel, has been saying again and again for the last six weeks of rehearsals: ‘They’re finished, Outspan.  Believe me.’  He’s talking about U2, in 1986.  But the line isn’t in the novel, which I wrote in 1986.

So, am I cheating?  I’m giving Jimmy a look at the future.  … Read More »

The Singing Rabbitte 1

Posted on September 19th, by admin in Blog, The Singing Rabbitte. No Comments

The Singing Rabbitte:


I’m in London, for rehearsals of a musical version of my novel, The Commitments.  I wrote the book – the book of the book; I find it easier thinking of it as the script – so I’ve been here since early August, watching a gang of people construct a show out of lines and details on 127 pages of script.

I’m staying in Earl’s Court and usually enter the Tube station from the Warwick Road side, at the Exhibition Centre.  On Friday I walked into the station and saw hundreds of women coming at me.  Hundreds of women, and one man.  I looked back at the Exhibition Centre to see what was on: the Bake and Cake Show.

The women all looked like keen cake eaters and the man, about my age, maybe a bit younger, was holding hands with, actually clinging to one of them.  He looked terrified, like a kid afraid he’d lose his mammy in the crowd.

I … Read More »