Our House is a quirky ska/pop musical with music and lyrics from Madness and a book by Tim Firth. The show played to critical acclaim in London receiving an Olivier award for Best New Musical and Solihull on Stage have brought this show to life at Solihull Arts Complex.
The story follows the journey of Joe Casey, a Camden lad whose life takes two different directions on the evening of his 16th birthday. As he attempts to impress the girl of his dreams, Joe breaks into a building development and when the police turn up Good Joe stays behind, but Bad Joe flees. The show unfolds with the iconic Madness music underpinning the plot.
Opening with a touching scene between Joe Casey's Mum and Dad, there was an explosion of colour, as an energetic and enthusiastic ensemble took the stage with an infectious performance of Our House. We are immediately introduced to Joe, played brilliantly by Matt Branson, he flawlessly switched between his Bad and Good alter egos and he deserves an award for the number of costume changes he had to undergo. As the show twists and turns between his two lives, Stephan Hayes (playing Joe's deceased Dad) eased the transitions as he narrated the story of his son.
His love interest Sarah is played beautifully by Emma Doran. She came into her element in the second half as she performed N.W.5 and, paired with Branson, they expertly delivered a heartfelt rendition of It Must Be Love. Musically directed by Mel O'Donnell, the harmonies were tight throughout and they packed a punch in the ensemble numbers.
The talented supporting principals were played superbly by Dani Godwin, Suzanne Brittain, James Gough and Nicholas Tuck, all delivering excellent performances. Jack Bushell and Keith Parry shone through as Joe's friends Lewis and Emmo, they garnered many a laugh throughout the night with their fantastic portrayals.
The second half of the show was powerful as Joe's alternate lives reached two parallel climaxes. His relationship with his Mum (played poignantly by Emma Wheeler) takes two drastic directions and the heart of the story comes to the forefront. As an audience member, you could see the commitment the entire group had for this show and the abundance of energy that was poured into it.
So, if you're looking for a night that's wacky, crazy and downright mad, then Our House is the musical for you.
Solihull On Stage present Our House at Solihull Arts Complex until 2 May. For more information and to book tickets click here or call Solihull Arts Complex box office on 0121 704 6962.
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