‘My commute to work soundtrack this morning was an album I’ve not listened to in years. The Commitments OST album was a perennial favourite of mine back in the day. I’m listening again today as a nod to Barney Southgate whose just been announced as part of the cast of the new musical version which will take over the Palace Theatre, London from 21 September.
Barney was of course an integral part of our Parkway Dreams cast, Eastern Angles 100th show by Kenny Emson – a show which featured playful versions of Crackerjack, Blankety Blank and The Clangers. As well as playing a multitude of politicians (Barney gave us his Tarzan at one point) Barney was the genius who held the shows musical elements together. His sideburns were pretty remarkable too (see pic!) – wonder if they will survive into the Commitments!’
Well I’ glad to say the sideburns did survive – and the good people of OfficialTheatre.com sent me this interview with Killian Donnelly and Denis Grindel two of the stars of the show to add to the blog:-
@TheCommitments started previewing in September at London’s Palace Theatre. The Guardian called it frenetic, exuberant and unashamed (before being , well, a little nit picky! Charles Spencer in the Telegraph called it a vibrant, raucous joy. The Indie were, well, a little low key in their view (‘the mood is blandly upbeat’), whilst Mark Shenton in the stage has reservations but calls it ‘an engaging triumph’ but variety says ‘ the cast’s megawatt energy and musicianship, plus the knockout vocals of lead singer Killian Donnelly, prove overwhelming.’ Fair enough!
Back to my original blog post (from August)-
Barney is not the only Eastern Angles alumni currently strutting their stuff in and around the West End. Vera Chok (who appeared in Mansfield Park and Ride) is in Chimerica, now playing to rave reviews at the Harold Pinter Theatre. . You can read my thoughts on Chimerica here.
Developing new talent -whether as writers, directors or performers has always been a key aspect of Eastern Angles work. As we move towards our next production – a community based performance of Dark Earth* – can’t help but wonder if theres someone in the 37 strong cast who might just follow in Barney and Vera’s footsteps!
(Dark Earth has now completed its run – you can read the ‘buzz’ here’