Every actor has a list of shows they would love to be in and high up on Kevin Kennedy’s was The Commitments.

Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle’s 1987 novel about Jimmy Rabbitte, who forms a soul band with a group of working class lads in Dublin, was made into an iconic Bafta-winning film by Alan Parker in 1991.

Kennedy, known to millions for playing Curly Watts on Coronation Street for 20 years, will play Jimmy’s Dad in a new nationwide tour that kicks off at the Churchill Theatre from October 3 to 7.

He said: “I am a massive Roddy Doyle fan and always have been since his books came out in the early 80s and then I saw the film and I was struck by how funny it was.

“And it was important. It was very big for the Irish film industry, it was the first kind of really well put-together Irish film and started a whole genre of that type of film.

“I went to see it in the West End and it looks like a lot of fun and I thought if I get the opportunity I would like to do that.”

Playing an Irishman shouldn’t be much of a stretch for Kennedy, either, whose own mother hailed from the Emerald Isle.

He said: “I was brought up on that accent so it is not too far a stretch of the imagination for me to be able to slip into it. It is just a few nuances and tweaks.

“Most of the cast are Dublin-born so we listen to it yet again and they are very good and help you out.”

The show features more than 20 soul classics including Heard it Through the Grapevine, Think, Satisfaction and Mustang Sally - and it is all performed live on stage by The Commitments themselves.

Kennedy, a talented musician himself who was once in a band with Johnny Marr and Andy Rourke before they formed The Smiths, said he appreciates the music but his role does not require him to play an instrument on stage.

He said: “Everything is played live, so masochistic people can go to see if anything goes wrong!

“I am very impressed with the cast – they are all young and brilliant, actually. They all play two or three different instruments and are very enthusiastic and the whole thing is a bit of a ride.”

He added: “I like the music. I have been involved with We Will Rock You for the last three or four years so it is nice to drift over to a bit of soul music for a change.”

Lots of books and films struggle to make the jump from page or screen to stage but The Commitments ran for two years in the West End from 2013 to great success. It must have helped that Doyle himself was at the helm of the adaption.

Kennedy said: “If you are a lover of Roddy Doyle and a lover of the film it is safe bet. I think 90 per cent of the really good lines in the film are in the show.

“And for people who have never heard of Roddy Doyle or never heard of The Commitments, it is a show with a lot of heart and they will come out feeling really good at the end.”

The Commitments is at The Churchill Theatre, Bromley, from October 3 to 7. Go to churchilltheatre.co.uk

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