Our House – The Madness Musical

Our House
Our House – The Madness Musical

National press night took place for Our House at the Churchill Theatre on Wednesday night and with the likes of Charlie Stemp and Paul Taylor Mills in attendance it was a very stagey affair. By Tim Firth of Calendar Girls fame, Our House tells of Joe Casey. We meet Joe on his 16th birthday where in the process of trying to impress his girlfriend Sarah, he makes a decision between right of wrong that will impact the rest of his life. From that sliding doors moment we begin to follow 2 versions of Joe, one good and one bad. All of this is wrapped up in the high energy music of Madness.

Our HouseWhen talking about Our House the music is the first thing that you have to mention. The music of Madness is so catchy and upbeat that it’s just asking for a dance routine, hence part of the reason it works so well as a musical. The 4 piece band deliver an authentic sound that would keep even the most prolific Madness fan happy. Hit after hit follow ranging from ‘It Must Be Love’ to ‘Baggy Trousers’ and impressively they don’t feel shoehorned in. Unlike a lot of jukebox musicals the story of this show is clever and moving with witty dialogue.

Adding to this was exciting choreography by Fabian Aloise. There were lifts aplenty and always something going on across the stage. The staging was also well thought out with slick costume changes and body doubles for Joe to help enhance the concept of these 2 stories running in parallel to each other. My only disappointment on this front is that the quickest change of the original version which took place onstage at the Cambridge Theatre now takes place off stage, loosing some of the wow factor that came with this feat.

Our HouseTaking on the lead role of Joe Casey was Jason Kajdi who in this role has to embody 2 versions of Joe. He did this well and even without the costume change it would have been easy to identify which version of Joe he was. Reecey the school bully turned con was played by George Sampson of Britain’s Got Talent fame. His dance was clearly a strength and he was given frequent solos to play on this. His demour could have been more menacing to really enhance the nasty side of Reecey. Part of the huge strength of Our House was the ensemble and the cameo parts. They were all very strong and played up the comedy in the script that I hadn’t even previously picked up on.

Our House succeeds where many other jukebox musicals don’t and is a masterclass in how a jukebox musical can succeed. A clever story, catchy music combined with a talented cast, bursting with energy makes this a show not to miss.

Our House is playing at the Churchill Theatre until Saturday and then continues its national tour. Find out more on their website.

If you liked this review you may also like my review of The Wedding Singer, Legally Blonde and Flashdance.

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