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Exclusive: Interview with Denis Grindel

Who are you playing?

I’ll be playing the part of Jimmy Rabbitte, the band’s manager.

Do you have a particular affinity with The Commitments?

I was a fan of the movie for years. My older brother was a big fan of the film when it came but I was a bit young at the time I suppose. I wasn’t even alive actually (laughs).

What is your background?

I’m a musician myself, even though I don’t get to play in the show. The band scene is something I’ve always been really into. I grew up in Donegal, in the north of Ireland, but I spent four years in Dublin at University studying Law.  I was seventeen when I went to college and even though I’d always been pursuing acting I wasn’t sure if I wanted to move to London to start training. It was my idea to study Law, because apparently you have to be a good actor to be a good lawyer.  So I did that for four years, graduated, and then by the end of it I thought I was ready, having involved myself with musical societies and drama societies around Dublin.

I then applied to Central School of Speech & Drama, in London, trained there for a year – I’m actually finishing my dissertation at the moment.  It’s great to be working straight away, and in such an amazing production.

Tell us a bit about your character.

Jimmy is the band’s manager but sometimes I feel sorry for him as he’s the guy on the sidelines, even though he’s really at the heart of it all. I do feel for him especially being a singer myself and a musician.  Looking around me and seeing all these amazing talented singers and musicians playing away, he’s the one who has to step aside and let it all happen.  Without him – and I think you can see that in the show – things can fall apart, he really is the cog of the works.  He’s a bit of a wheeler dealer… I think everybody knows a character like Jimmy – he could convince you of anything which is a great trait to have. It’s really exciting to get to play him. 

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