‘Our House Musical’ @BelgradeTheatre Review!
Written by Tia Hudson on November 9, 2017
When you tell an 18 year old that they have been invited to see a musical by Madness (otherwise known to me ‘ohhh yeah, that band that sang that baggy trousers song?’), you can imagine that I went to this event slightly sceptical, however I am very happy to say that I was wrong.
Tim Firth and Suggs created a beautiful story where on the night of his 16th birthday, Joe Casey takes the girl of his dreams, Sarah, out on their first date. In an effort to impress her with bravado, Joe breaks into a building site overlooking his home on Casey Street. When the police turn up, a split-second decision forces him to choose between himself and his heart as the story splits in two: one which sees Joe stay to face the music, and the other which sees him flee and leave Sarah to run from the police. As two very different paths unfold before him, the consequences of that choice will change his life forever. Many people may find it hard to imagine that that a story with so much morality and depth could be expressed through the music of Madness who are so famous for their happy and fun sound however, after seeing the show first hand, I cannot imagine any other music working better. Firth himself said that the music was one of his main inspirations for the storyline and described the process as him taking ‘all the lyrics, all of the songs, and spread them around the floor and read all of them over a period of three or four days and found there were a lot of songs about duality – it’s about this and there and the opposite, the sun and the rain… They were there all the way through so there was something that was kind of niggling me about a dual story, a story that had two sides to it. When I thought; “You can do ‘I Like Driving In My Car’ and it’’s a Morris Minor but it’s also a Bentley or a Jag” I then thought “We’ve got a two-channel story here”.
Though the storyline was impressive, easily the most gripping and astounding aspect of the whole performance was the choreography and the flawless execution of it by the whole cast. Fabien Aloise has worked on many productions such as Matilda and Fame but I really feel that he has outdone himself here. He managed to make the dances fast paced and intricate yet still fun and fit the scenes of youth and nonchalance. There is no denying that the whole cast was astounding but, personally, the stand out performance of the night had to be by George Sampson as ‘Reecey’. Making himself a household name at the age of 14, Sampson won the second season of Britain’s Got Talent with his dance skills however this is nowhere near the peak of his talent. During the performance, he showed acting, singing and dancing talent that was undeniable and, though he was meant to play the bad guy, he had a natural charisma that the audience could not help but want to see more of the character.
Overall, this ever so slightly racy story about a boy called Joe Casey who just doesn’t know the right way to go was wonderfully narrated by the music of madness and was performed by a very talented cast of ‘triple-threat’ performers is well worth a watch for anyone; whether you are a madness fan or not, you will be by the end of the night.
‘Our House runs on the Main Stage at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry from Weds 8 – Sat 11 Nov. Tickets are available now priced from £22.50 by calling the Belgrade Box Office on 024 7655 3055 or visit www.belgrade.co.uk