DRUNKEN Irish shenanigans, vivacious live music and a cast as spectacular as the assortment of jukebox classics that they sing - Roddy Doyle's feelgood musical The Commitments is the perfect antidote to the early year blues.
Set in Dublin in 1985, Doyle's production looks at the lives of a group of aspiring musicians who, led by beguiling manager Jimmy Rabbitte - performed magnetically by Andrew Linnie - set about trying to become a staple name within the Ireland soul scene.
Tantrums, affairs and many, many Guinness' later, newly christened The Commitments fall apart after a successful audition with a record company.
Of course, there's more to this musical than sex, drink and soul but the undoubted enlivening feature is the music. Timeless numbers including the likes of 'Knock On Wood', 'I Heard it Through the Grapevine' and 'Think' are energised through a strong troop of charming characters.
Frontman of the band is Deco “the soulman” Cuffe - played by Brian Gilligan. Although a raging prima donna whose droll outbursts are a consistent platform for the group to reach breaking point, the soul-touched temper of Gilligan's vocals make him all the more loveable. The interactions with his backing singers - Amy Penston, Christina Tedders and the outstanding Leah Penston - only drew further hilarity as the story developed from garage practise rooms to Saturday night community centre gigs and ultimately that prized record company slot.
And with any gig a bouncer is needed. Queue Sam Fordham's Mickah - the unhinged, skinhead who is as calm as an alcoholic in a coffee shop. He doesn't sing, can't dance - unless headbanging his nut within inches of floor and ceiling - but is the sort of comic relief that pours out of this show at every interval.
This is a fantastic musical that sees each diverse character embark on their own inward adventure, but inevitably attempt to push aside differences for the good of the band. Doyle's biggest breakthrough is the combination of reinvigorating soul music - making it alive and well when The Commitments was originally released in 1987 and once again when his musical made its debut in 2013.