In 1991 Alan Parker made a splendid film based on the book.
Now we have a musical crafted by Doyle and directed, rather badly, by Jamie Lloyd - there are endless, pointless scene changes and the pacing is perverse - that purports to be about 1980s Dublin with relevance to today's Ireland, but is about nothing in particular, except that a group of perfectly pleasant actors form a band, sing lots of soul numbers and fall out in the process.
The first half of the show is sloppily written as we meet the various members - with no back stories to say who they are or why, and the second half is little more than an extended concert.
The soul numbers include I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Mustang Sally, Try a Little Tenderness and Satisfaction, for which much thanks, but this is not so much a jukebox musical, a West End staple these days, as a poorly constructed play with pasted on songs.
As Deco the selfish lead singer, Killian Donnelly belts out his numbers to the manner born, and Joe Woolmer, the band's skinhead bouncer, is hilariously dangerous. But Denis Grindel, as Jimmy Rabitte, the band's promoter, tries so hard to be lovable one wants to beat his brains in with a shamrock.
It is very noisy, the f-word content is amazingly high, and the result is an exhausting experience that should have been stimulating.